The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Historical Hot or Not VII

More historical picspam for all you prurient followers!

Today's candidate is typical in a late-eighteenth century sort of way. Sir William Hamilton, (1730-1803) was a diplomat, British Ambassador to Naples, where he studied volcanoes, and managed to collect plenty of antiquities; he even wrote a book about Pompeii. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a member of the Dilletanti, he sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts and some of his natural history specimens to the British Museum in 1784, and counts as a major donor.

More titillatingly, however, it was two years later, in 1786, that he encountered his second wife, Emma Lyon. She was "sent" to him by his nephew, in appreciation for Hamilton's paying off his debts; she performed dances inspired by the Ancient World while wearing no underwear, and Hamilton was smitted. When they married in 1791, he was 26, and he was 60. He was to become the most famous cuckold of the day when Emma became the mistress of Horatio Nelson.

Now, I leave it for you to decide if Nelson held a candle to this guy:
With the first Lady Hamilton in Naples, David Allan, c. 1765.

By David Allan, 1775
By Joshua Reynolds, 1776-7
By George Romney, 1783.

By Giovanni Morghen, 1789.


Ceri said...

I'm going to have to say not - he looks very stuck up in those pictures although I suppose he was trying to look wise and noble

I don't really rate Nelson either but at least he had some real heroic deeds to his name.

It's rather gross about Emma being sent to Hamilton. Her life sounds incredibly interesting but its not quite rags to riches, more rags to riches and back to rags again. Sad that she ended her life in rather bad circumstances.

Amy said...

No one, I repeat, NO ONE can hold a candle to Nelson! *my hero* Even, dare I say it, Henry Wellcome! *shock, horror*