Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity opens 3 November 2016 and runs until 17 April 2017 at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich.
Emma Hamilton was one of the most famous international celebrities of her time and her life is the ultimate costume drama. Today Emma, Lady Hamilton, is most famous for being the lover of Admiral Nelson; however her story is one of female power and achievement in a man’s world.
Born into poverty in 1765, she rose to be a muse for famous artists, an influential ambassador’s wife, a European cultural icon and Nelson’s mistress – before facing prison and dying in destitution.
Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity traces her spectacular career from rags to riches and back again through over 200 objects, great paintings by George Romney, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Thomas Lawrence, and heartfelt letters between Emma and her lovers. The exhibition also explores the obstacles and social barriers for a woman of her time in the public eye, many of which still resonate today.
Image: Emma Hart as Circe c.1782; George Romney 1734–1802; Tate; Photography © Tate, London 2016