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Sold for £8,000

Condition report

Nelson: Time stained; diagonal crack from side to side passing through eyebrow and ear; Emma: Time stained.

We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of this property. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Charles Miller Ltd is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.

A pair of re-discovered portrait sketches of Lord Nelson & Lady Hamilton, drawn at Merton, 1802


Bust-length portraits of Lord Nelson in uniform; and Lady Emma Hamilton wearing a turban

Pencil heightened with white

Nelson monogrammed and dated 'JD 1802' (mid-left) with indistinct inscription under possibly reading '[M]erton [1]802'

6 x 4¾in. (15 x 12cm.), contained within early 19th century sailorwork giltwood frames carved in relief with polychrome laurel leaves and inscribed on ebonised shield-shaped plaques Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton respectively

(2, a pair)

Provenance: Isabella Benjamin (Downman's only child), believed sold from albums bequeathed to her in 1825 to Admiral W.H. Smyth (1788-1865), his armorial bookplate pasted to reverse of 'Lady Hamilton' and remnant behind 'Lord Nelson'; sold to collector Henry Vaughan (1809-1899), his mss label pasted under bookplate; Private Collection, UK. and thence by descent.

Exhibited: Preparatory sketches for works exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1809, No.324 ('Portraits of a naval Commander and a lady of quality').

Literature: Walker, R: The Nelson Portraits, Royal Naval Museum, 1998, p.147 where a worked up chalk drawing of this sketch may be seen.

Auction: Maritime and Scientific Models, Instruments & Art (Venerable), Tue, 24th Nov 2020

Mercantile : 1-98

Naval : 101-179

Instruments : 181-295

Printed catalogues available at £20 (+P&P)

Absentee Bidding Form


You will not be able to bid live in the room. Absentee bids may be left via the website or using a bid form or you can bid via one of three online platforms. Unfortunately, we cannot offer telephone bidding for this sale

  •  this service offers a choice of either paying a one-off £3.95 flat fee for the sale and no further charges; or 3% of the hammer price. Charles Miller Ltd will refund successful buyers who bid via the £3.95 flat fee
  • – charges 5% of the hammer price
  • – charges 3% of the hammer price



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