Despite leading an extraordinary life Emma Hamilton is probably best known for her scandalous affair with Lord Nelson, which lasted from 1799 to his death in 1805.
Frances Nisbet married Lord Nelson in 1787. They were married for over ten years before he met and fell in love with Emma Hamilton.
From maid to muse, pauper to politician, Emma Hamilton transcended barriers and transformed her story from an ordinary one into an extraordinary one.
When a fashionable society artist met a strikingly beautiful and expressive young woman, the shockwaves would continue for years to come.
Arriving in Naples aged just 21, Emma could not have imagined the turn her life would take. She was about to enter a golden period of admiration.
When Emma, her husband Sir William Hamilton and her lover Lord Nelson returned to England, she must have seen the adoring crowds awaiting Nelson and the endless social invitations coming her way and thought that her future could be bright. By 1813, though, she would be reduced to living in debtors’ prison – a non-person to the many she had showered with lavish hospitality only a short while before.
Emma became involved in European politics at a time of great turbulence and conflict following the French Revolution.