Portraits of Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton from the Illustrated London News, 12 November 1955
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The Hamiltons and Nelson’s return to England commenced from Leghorn, Italy on 14 July 1800. It took in Florence, Ancona, Trieste, Klagenfurt, Vienna, Prague, Dresden and Hamburg. Everywhere Nelson was celebrated. Moreover his adulterous relationship with Emma was under the public spotlight, ‘It is plain that Lord Nelson thinks of nothing but Lady Hamilton, who is totally occupied by the same subject… [he] is a little man without dignity…Lady Hamilton takes possession of him, and he is a willing captive, the most submissive and devoted I have ever seen. Sir William is old, unfirm, all admiration of his wife and never spoke today’ (Hibbert, page 218).
At Dresden Nelson and Emma had their portraits drawn by J.H Schmidt. Nelson’s portrait shows a thin, frail, battle scarred man older than his actual age of 42. Emma later recounted that Nelson described her portrait as his ‘Guardian Angel’ because he believed he would not win a battle unless he could see it.