Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Hamiltons in:
 • Church of St. Pierre
 • Lille
 • Departement du Nord
 • Nord-Pas-de-Calais
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Emma Hamilton
Birth: Apr. 26, 1765
Neston
Cheshire, England
Death: Jan. 15, 1815
Calais, France

Artist's Model, Folk Figure. She is remembered as a favourite subject of George Romney and Sir Joshua Reynolds and as the mistress of Lord Nelson. Born Amy Lyon, the early details of her life are clouded save that she was initially raised in Hawarden, North Wales, under poor circumstances and had no formal education. By age 12 she was working as a maid in London, first for a doctor later for several Drury Lane actresses whose number she made some attempts to join. For a time Emma "modeled" in an electric bed at 'The Goddess of Health', a medical establishment run by Scottish charlaton James Graham; she supplemented her income as a prostitute and nude dancer, with some of the poses she learned showing up in paintings and in parlour games of the day. In her early teens she caught the attention of Romney and Reynolds and began modeling; as this was not considered honorable work the Royal Academy had a hard time finding models and Emma worked under a variety of pseudonyms. By 15 she was hired to 'entertain' and serve at the home of Sir Harry Featherstonbaugh whose mistress she became; when ditched by Sir Harry due to her pregnancy she established a relationship with Charles Francis Greville who took her away from her old associations and persuaded her to change her name to Emma Hart. When Greville married a rich young wife in 1783 he 'gave' Emma to his wealthy uncle Sir William Hamilton, British envoy to Naples, who was to take her in and eventually marry her in 1791. Around 1787 Emma devised a parlour entertainment called 'Attitudes', a sort-of charades which became popular. A respected amateur singer, she at one point declined an offer from the Royal Opera, Madrid. Emma became prominent in Neopolitan society and a friend and political advisor of Queen Maria Carolina, and in 1793 met British naval hero Lord Nelson. An affair developed that was openly flaunted before both Sir William and Nelson's wife, the illicit pair at one point even living in Sir William's home and bringing Emma's mother into a complicated menage a trois. Emma bore Nelson's daughter Horatia (who never acknowledged her) in 1801 but would not even consider divorce; after Sir William died in 1803 and Nelson was killed at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar Emma quickly spent what little money was left her left her. Further, the British government ignored Nelson's wishes to care for Emma and Horatia, thus insuring financial decline. With time she became fat, lived out her days in poverty, and probably died of chronic liver disease. Today her image hangs in numerous galleries and private collections. Emma has been portrayed on the silver screen and television by several actresses including Malvina Longfellow, Corinne Griffith, Vivien Liegh, Glenda Jackson, and Geraldine James, while a number of novelists, to include Alexandre Dumas, F.W. Kenyon, Miranda Hearn, and Susan Sontag have made her a main character in their works. Though Emma was popularly called "Emma, Lady Hamilton" following her marriage to a Knight, this is not technically correct as Sir William was never elevated to the Peerage. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Children:
  Horatia Nelson (1801 - 1881)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Church of St. Pierre
Lille
Departement du Nord
Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Feb 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33744333
Emma Hamilton
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Emma Hamilton
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Jackie Howard
 Added: Apr. 26, 2014

- Kat
 Added: Jan. 15, 2014

- Tom A. Hawk
 Added: Jan. 15, 2014
There are 57 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.8 after 27 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service