Emma (née Lyon), Lady Hamilton

1 portrait

Emma (née Lyon), Lady Hamilton, by George Romney, circa 1785 - NPG 4448 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Emma (née Lyon), Lady Hamilton

by George Romney
oil on canvas, circa 1785
24 1/2 in. x 20 1/2 in. (623 mm x 521 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 1965
Primary Collection
NPG 4448

Click on the links below to find out more:

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • George Romney (1734-1802), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 159 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The daughter of a Cheshire blacksmith, Emma Hart had a spectacularly successful career as mistress to a succession of older men, finally marrying Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy in Naples. Romney met her when she was only seventeen and the mistress of Charles Greville. He was clearly besotted by her and painted her again and again, becoming her friend but probably not her lover, however much he might have liked to be. As she wrote to him on 20 December 1791, 'you was the first dear friend I open'd my heart to, you ought to know me, for you have seen and discoursed with me in my poorer days, you have known me in my poverty and prosperity'. This portrait is one of many that Romney kept back in his studio for his private delectation. It conveys something of his feeling for her doe-eyed beauty.

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.