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Seduction & Celebrity

The notorious love affair of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton inspired a new style of Royal Doulton character jug with two portraits side by side rather than back to back, as in the earlier Star Crossed Lovers series. Bill Harper modeled the first ever double-headed jug in 1997 and followed it with the second and last design in 1998, featuring Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Both jugs are increasingly hard to find today.

Nelson’s relationship with a married woman was an international scandal but it enhanced his reputation as a great romantic as well as Britain’s favorite war hero. Emma Hamilton’s beauty and ambition were extraordinary and she rose from rural poverty to become the muse of artists and mistress of the high and mighty. As the wife of Sir William Hamilton, living in Naples, she met Nelson after his victory at the Nile. She became a fashion icon, sex symbol and the first ever celebrity superstar.  Her fortunes changed dramatically after Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and she died, shunned, forgotten and in debt at the age of just 49. The exhibition Emma Hamilton: Seduction & Celebrityruns until April 17th at the National Maritime Museum in London. Royal Doulton artists have paid tribute to Lord Nelson many times since the first stoneware jug in the 1840s and themed collections are very popular.  

Back to Highlights January 2017

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