Search the Collection

Emma (née Lyon), Lady Hamilton (Baptised 1765-1815), Mistress of Lord Nelson

Sitter in 28 portraits
Emma achieved celebrity through her beauty, personal vitality and skills as a performer. She is principally remembered as the artist George Romney's 'muse' and for her love affair with Nelson. Emma fell in love with Nelson after the Battle of the Nile (1798), when she and her husband William Hamilton, the British Ambassador at Naples, offered the wounded victor hospitality. Emma and Nelson returned to England in 1800 where a daughter was born. The affair was an international scandal, but it enhanced Nelson's reputation as a romantic hero. At his death, in 1805, Nelson entrusted Emma's care to the nation, but this was ignored by the government. She died in poverty in France in 1813.