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Horatio Nelson

1 of 85 portraits of Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson, by Lemuel Francis Abbott, 1797 - NPG 394 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Horatio Nelson

by Lemuel Francis Abbott
oil on canvas, 1797
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
Purchased, 1874
Primary Collection
NPG 394

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  • Lemuel Francis Abbott (circa 1760-1802), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 77 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

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This is one of the many portraits Abbott painted of Nelson and it is perhaps the most widely recognised of the whole Nelson iconography. It depicts him in rear-admiral's uniform wearing the Star and Ribbon of the Bath and the Naval Gold Medal, awarded for his victory at the Battle of St Vincent (1797). The original portrait was painted for Captain Locker of the Greenwich Hospital. This version, commissioned for Lady Nelson, was also taken from life. Although Nelson only sat to him twice, Abbott subsequently copied the picture over forty times. The copies gradually declined in quality as the artist became mentally ill but this was no bar to their popularity. Many were purchased by Nelson's naval colleagues, his family and friends.

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