Seduction & Celebrity

The National Maritime Museum has done it again! In the wake of marvellous exhibitions about JMW Turner and Ansel Adams, the latest offering is an inquiry into the life of Emma Hamilton. Curator Quintin Colville and his team have set out to debunk the myths – the work seduction in the title is used ironically – and instead give Emma her due as a key figure of the Regency age, tracing her rise from poverty and child-prostitution to superstar model and muse, pioneering stage performer and astute political adviser as well as the woman who scandalised and entranced the nation by falling in love with Nelson. On view are wonderful treasures illustrating this – portraits by Romney, Lawrence and Reynolds, vicious caricatures by Gillray, jewels presented by kings and emperors, tender love-letters and heartbreaking notes pleading for help after Nelson’s death. Your view of Emma will be changed for ever – and there can be no greater plaudit for this show than that.



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