Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805) Mezzotint after Lemuel Francis Abbott

Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805) Mezzotint after Lemuel Francis Abbott

Code: 11243


H: 64cm (25.2")W: 41cm (16.1")


Rt Hon Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronte, K.B. (1758-1805) 
Mezzotint by William Barnard (1774-1849)
after Lemuel Francis Abbott (1760-1802) 
Published, London 1799

64 cm x 41 cm

Lettered beneath the image with the publication details "London, Published 1st June 1799, by W.Barnard, No. 18, London Street, Fitzroy Square" and the text "To the Right Honble. Lady Nelson, This Portrait of the Right Honble. Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. Is with permission humbly Dedicated by her Ladyship's most obedient, gratefull Servant, W. Barnard" with Nelson's armorial centre, the artist's byline beneath "Engraved by W. Barnard, from an Original Painting by L.F.Abbott Esqr. In the possession of Lady Nelson."

This image dates to the time when Nelson's derring-do was bringing him growing fame and huge public adulation. In 1794 he had lost much of the sight in his right eye from an injury sustained at the Siege of Calvi. In 1797 he took the surrender of the Spanish ship San José at the Battle of Cape Saint Vincent, for which he was knighted. He subsequently lost his right arm in an attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In 1798 he commanded the British fleet at the Battle of the Nile and achieved a major victory over the French navy. This brought him huge admiration, especially as he had been injured by flying debris in the melee. It was after this conflict, while stopping off in Naples to recuperate, that he first met and began his notorious affair with Lady Emma Hamilton, wife of the British ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. Nelson did not return to England until the year after this print was engraved, but there was clearly a demand for his likeness. Knowing what was happening at the time it is particularly interesting to note from the text that the engraved portrait image was provided by Lady Nelson (Nelson's wife) and the print, subsequently, being dedicated to her. Lemuel Abbott had two sittings with Nelson during in the autumn of 1797 during which the original prototype for the picture was painted.

Nelson became a legendary hero when he was killed at the moment of his greatest triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805.

Well presented, framed and glazed. Good condition. Retaining all text. Slight uneven browning to the paper, a couple of scratches and stains, evidence of three wormholes from a former frame bottom right. Framed to the image.

See BM 1902,1011.32 for similar.