Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, 1758-1805, 1st Viscount Nelson

A full-length portrait slightly to left in a rear-admiral’s full dress uniform, 1795–1812, but with vice-admiral’s epaulettes. He wears the star and ribbon of the order of the Bath and the St Vincent and Nile medals. Nelson’s empty right sleeve is pinned across his coat and he leans on a rock with his left hand on the right of the picture. His right foot rests on a small boulder. In the background on the left, the battle of Copenhagen rages.

The original portrait by John Hoppner was bought for the Royal Collection after it hung in the Royal Academy in 1802. Although it was completed after the Battle of Copenhagen in April 1801, Hoppner probably began it between 8 November 1800 and 1 January 1801. However, he did not change the uniform to the correct rank of vice-admiral when he painted the background, since Nelson became a vice-admiral in January 1801, and the painting was not delivered to St James’s Palace until after Hoppner’s death in 1810. This version, one of eleven similar copies, was presented to Greenwich Hospital by George IV in 1824; see also the oil sketch, BHC2897.

Object Details

ID: BHC2898
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Hoppner, after John; Shepperson, Matthew
Date made: circa 1823-24
People: Nelson, Horatio; King George IV
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Frame: 2910 mm x 1900 mm x 200 mm;Painting: 2390 mm x 1475 mm

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