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Horatio Nelson

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Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson (1758-1805).
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: BHC2889
Description: A half-length portrait depicting Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), facing forward with his head turned to the left. He wears rear-admiral's undress uniform of 1795-1812 pattern, with gold epaulettes, the Nile decorations, and in his hat the distinctive diamond chelengk given to him by the Sultan of Turkey. On his jacket he wears the star of a KB, granted to him on 27 September 1797, together with the Neapolitan Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, and the Turkish Order of the Crescent. His empty right sleeve is pinned across the front of his coat by the star of his KB and this acts as a reminder that Nelson lost his right arm at Santa Cruz, in July 1797. This portrait was not painted from life but was commissioned in 1800 by John McArthur, Nelson's biographer, in Nelson's absence abroad. It is based on a study made by Abbot at Greenwich Hospital in 1797, while Nelson was convalescing from loss of his arm and staying there with his former captain, the Lieutenant-Governor, William Locker. This is shown by the ribbons on his slit upper right sleeve, which at that time helped accommodate the dressing on the stump of his arm, but were removed from his uniforms once the wound had healed. Nelson was a rear-admiral from 20 February 1797 to his promotion to vice-admiral on 1 June 1801. This painting, with others by Richard Westall and Benjamin West, engraved in Clarke and McArthur's 1809 biography of Nelson, form a group presented to Greenwich Hospital by Jasper de St Croix and others in 1849.
Creator: Lemuel Francis Abbot (1760-1803)
Date: 1800
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London. Greenwich Hospital collection.
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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