'Miranda (Emma Hamilton). Engraved by Caroline Watson 14 Aug 1809, engraver to Her Majesty, from the original Picture'


A print after a painting of Emma Hart, by George Romney. This dramatic sketch shows Emma posing as Miranda, from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. She looks upwards, lips parted, in an expression of concern and pleading as she urges her father to calm the tempestuous seas. Romney’s painting of the dramatic moment between Prospero and Miranda (in act 1, scene 2), was his first contribution to Alderman John Boydell’s celebrated Shakespeare Gallery. The largest and most ambitious painting he ever completed, it was destroyed in the 1950s and only a few heavily restored fragments now survive. There are however several sketches of Emma as Miranda, for which she sat before her departure for Naples in March 1786.

Emma met Romney in 1782, when she was about 16, through her ‘protector’ Charles Greville. Romney was captivated by her beauty and she became his favourite model until Greville passed her on to the protection of his uncle, Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. They married in 1791, but in 1799 she also became the lover of Admiral Horatio Nelson in an affair that has become legendary.

Caroline Watson engraved works by Reynolds and Romney and was engraver to Queen Caroline. The print is inscribed, ‘Engraved by Caroline Watson 14 Aug 1809, (engraver to Her Majesty) from the original Picture’. While this edition of the print is just inscribed ‘Miranda’ a later one bears the title ‘Lady Hamilton as Miranda’.

Object Details

ID: PAD3234
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Payne, Thomas; Watson, Caroline Romney, George Romney, George
Date made: Published 14 April 1809
Exhibition: Seduction and Celebrity: The Spectacular Life of Emma Hamilton
People: Hamilton, Emma
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 483 mm x 318 mm;Primary support: 319 mm x 260 mm

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