Horatio Nelson, 1758 -1805, Vice Admiral of the White

Pastel portait of Nelson, when a rear-admiral, by Johann Heinrich Schmidt. It was done at Dresden, Saxony, in October 1800 by Schmidt, who was artist to the ducal court there. It is signed and dated upper right 'Schmidt / f. 1800'. A plaque attached to the frame bears the inscription '1758 Viscount Nelson 1805 Johann Heinrich Schmidt 1749 1829'.

After Vienna, Nelson and his party travelled to Prague and then to Dresden where the Court painter Schmidt produced pastel drawings of Emma and Nelson, commissioned by Hugh Elliot, the British minister.

Schmidt had already drawn Napoleon among other famous people. His portrait of Nelson agrees with contemporary accounts of Nelson’s appearance at this time, notably that by the Lutheran pastor Thomas Kosegarten who wrote ‘Nelson is one of the most insignificant figures I ever saw. His weight cannot be more than 70lbs. A more miserable collection of bones and wizened frame cannot be imagined. His bold nose, steady eye and the solid worth revealed in the whole face betray in some measure the great conqueror. He speaks little, and then only in English, and he hardly ever smiles.’ It is signed and dated upper right 'Schmidt / f. 1800'.

Object Details

ID: PAJ3939
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Schmidt, Johann Heinrich
Date made: 1800
Exhibition: Seduction and Celebrity: The Spectacular Life of Emma Hamilton
People: Nelson, Horatio; Hamilton, Emma
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Frame: 460 x 393 mm

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