Nelson visited Monmouth twice during his tour with the Hamiltons in 1802. They stayed in the Beaufort Arms on both occasions and Nelson gave a patriotic speech there on the second visit.

The museum has a very impressive collection of Nelson relics and memorabillia, including his short, undress sword and the sword of Villeneuve and Gravina, Fanny Nelson's wedding ring, and many letters from her and Nelson. Must-see museum for any Nelson fan!
 
 
The final installment in my little series, answering the question: what did
Nelson look like?

This one will be looking at his two life masks, done in 1800, and his wax effigy made in 1806, starting with the former.
Picture
There are two masks in existance: one with eyes open, and one with eyes closed. These were both done in Vienna in 1800, during Nelson and the Hamiltons' overland journey back to the UK from Italy. They were made for a bust which was to be made by Thaller and Ranson.

These were mistaken for death masks, but  now we know for certain that they were indeed made while he was very much alive. So alive that he needed straws up his nose so he could breathe while the plaster set! Silly-looking, but necessary!

The one pictured to the left, we'll call it Mask One, is very obviously, the eyes closed one- which looks a little creepy because he has no eyelashes.
 Nevertheless, out of the two, it is this one which should be looked at more when considering what Nelson looked like. This is because Mask Two would have been worked on in order to have the eyes open, and there are a few little differences between them both. So this one is slightly more reliable.



 
 
Picture
So, I have returned after completing my final GCSE exam earlier this week! Woo Hoo! I now have about ten weeks off for the summer (double Woo Hoo!) before going to Sixth Form to do A-Levels, which is extremely terrifying, but also rather exciting!

But now is the time for the second post answering the question: What did Nelson look like?
 In this one I'll be sharing what others reported that Nelson looked like in their accounts.

(<|---------- Just for fun- a random piccy of Nelson!)


 "His features are sharp and his skin now very much burnt,"  wrote Benjamin Silliman, an American who witnessed Nelson being mobbed during his final weeks in England. Another person, who was a child at the time, later recalled that he had seen Nelson's "pale and interesting face... the melancholy expression of his countenance..." while at the theatre in Birmingham, during the Nelson and the Hamlton's tour of Wales and the Midlands in 1802.
 Mr Anderson, a Dane, wrote, "Lord Nelson was in person of middle stature, a thin body and apparently delicate  constitution. The lines of his face were hard, but the penetration of his eye  threw a kind of light upon his countenance which tempered its severity and  rendered his harsh features in some measure agreeable. His luxuriant hair flowed  in graceful ringlets down his
temples". 
 These are some exaples of the many descriptions of Nelson and his appearance, usually written with some surprise at how "insignificant" he looked- not really tall, strong, and drop-dead gorgeous like the stereotypical hero.
 Infact, Nelson, especially in his older years, was often reported to have looked quite a bit older than he really was. When he was younger, however, the Prince William Henry described him as "the merest boy of a captain I ever beheld". It seems that Nelson had quite a child-like face, and if it wasn't for years of wind and sun he probably wouldn't have looked "very old" as Lord Elgin charmingly put it.
 He also wrote that Nelson had "lost his upper teeth." This was proably why Nelson reportedly "hardly ever smiles", as said by Thoams Kosegarten, who saw Nelson is Dresden during the hero's journey overland back to England. 
 He was also, apparently, very skinny and rather sickly-looking.
 Lady Spencer wrote that "he looked so sickly it was painful to see him and his general appearance was that of an idiot"... A tad harsh, don't you think? One person, who also saw him on his tour, echoed this opinion, describing Nelson as  "thin and shrunken" and another wrote that he was "a little weather beaten man."
 Nelson's slender frame unheroic figure seemed to be something that amazed people the most. While returning to the UK via the Germany, he was described as "clumsy and dim" and his figure as "poor", and by Kosegarten a "miserble collection of bones and wizened frame... His weight cannot be more than 70Ibs ...one of the most insignificant figures I ever saw in my life." Apart from his face, however, which was the only part of him that would "betray in some measure the great conqueror."
 George Matcham was not of the same opinion, stating "he was not as described, a little man, but of the middle height and of a frame adapted to activity and exertion."
 George Matcham seems to have been right, not alone in his thinking that  Nelson was of "about middle height".  The Trafalgar uniform supports that he was indeed slender, but not emaciated, and average for the time in height.

Just thought I'd mention this because this is a myth that is still buzzing round today- but Nelson never, never, never, never, NEVER wore an eyepatch- the accounts people wrote support this, as well as the portraits. He had no need to because his "bad" eye was not much changed in appearance. However, according to two doctors, Nelson had an "unnatural dilation of the pupil", and Nelson himself said that the "pupil is nearly the size of the blue part"- also proving that  Nelson had beautiful blue eyes.
 He also had a "film" growing over his good eye.  Dr Trotter, the physician to the Fleet, noted this, describing it as "a membraneous sunstance seemingly spreading fast over the pupil". To anyone near him this would have been very noticable.

So, what did Nelson like like? Judging by many of the accounts, not quite as manly and handsome as some of his portraits suggest. Nevertheless, he was also noted for his "pleasant smile" and kindly eyes. 
 It could be said that people were just shocked when they saw him, not expecting a slender, aging man with lines on his face and tanned skin from years at sea. This perhaps lead to people being more harsh than necessary and exaggerating the truth. I'm quite sure he didn't really look like a walking skeleton with skin, except for when he was really unwell, and I'm sure he didn't look nearly as ancient as many people suggested.
 When deciding what Nelson looked like, the accounts should be treated with caution. I believe there is truth in all of them, but be aware of the fact that many people had a tendancy to over-emphasize , creating an unrealistic image of the admiral.

 
 
Okay, so there are about ten million gazillion portraits of Nelson out there. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my drift!
  The thing is, each one of these portraits seems to show a slightly different Nelson to the rest. His character seems to change and his features might be slightly different.This variation makes it rather tricky to know exactly what Nelson looked like. The accounts can also differ somewhat too, just to make it all the more difficult for us!
 So, what did he really look like, and which one best shows of his personality?
  Here's a list of the, I think, most realistic portraits of Nelson, and some quotes that others who met him said will be in a later post, so you can decide for yourself what you think Nelson really looked like!
 I am using the two Vienna life-masks of Nelson as my guide, when choosing these images (more on those later!).

Picture
I guess we should start with the portrait that Nelson himself believed was the most life-like, a little sketch of his profile by Simon de Koster! When asked once about which portrait he thought looked like him the most, Nelson replied that de Koster's was "the most like me."
 I'm guessing that Nelson would be a good judge on this (or perhaps he wasn't, you never know!), so I  think this one is definately one to consider when thinking about Nelson's true appearance! 
 To add to that, I find this profile rather fascinating, because I can't help but think that this image makes Nelson look very, well... normal! Some might say a bit dull even, in comparison with other portraits, but maybe that's because his face doesn't really have any expression on it!
 Quite often, painters would try make Nelson appear to be the most heroic person on the planet, even to the point of him looking quite God-like. But this simple portrait does not seem gloss anything over; it tells no lies. Nelson still has this look of dignity and authority that was so common in his portraits, yet he was of course an aging man at this stage, and this portrait does not hide that.
 If you want an image of Nelson the Human, I think this is definately the best one. The only other one which could compete would be one of the ones by Heindrich Fuger, one showing Nelson wearing civilian clothes, which no other portrait shows. However, I'm not a big fan of the Fuger portraits (I'm not sure that the features are quite right), so for me this one wins.
 
The image to the above is an oil based on the sketch.


 
 
Hi there!
I've just created a "Links" page, with links to other Nelson and his navy sites, and also a "People" page, which contains information on some of the most important people in Nelson's life, and also a pic of them if I can find one! There aren't many on there at the moment, but I'll be adding to it, bit by bit, over the upcoming weeks. 
 Do check up on it!
Perhaps I can persuade the C-in-C to add some too! ... ;)
 
 
Me and my dad visit the Nelson statue and the area where the Styles, later Royal, Hotel once was in Birmingham.
Nelson visited Birmingham during his tour of Wales and the Midlands in 1802 with the Hamiltons. They stayed there for a couple of days, during which they went to the theatre, visited the Blue Coat School, a toy shop, a stained glass factory, a brass foundry and about a billion other manufactoring workshops!
This statue was erected in 1809 and was the first statue of him in Britain.
 

Intro!

07/06/2012

2 Comments

 
Hey there!

 Welcome to the first post in the Ship’s Log!

This blog will keep you up to date with all things Nelson-related that are happening in my life! I will be posting videos from time to time and also posts on my musings about Nelson and the world he lived in.

 So here’s a little about myself. ..

My name is Rae-Rae. I am sixteen years old and about to go on to do A-levels. My interest in Nelson began one day at school. They told us that Friday 21 October  2005 was Trafalgar Day- I didn’t have a clue what it meant, but it sounded quite boring!
As it turned out, it was very much the opposite, and it triggered a passion for Nelson and his Navy that has for lasted for six and a half years. This was very much helped by my dad and granddad who themselves have an interest in naval history.

I aspire to one day turn my passion into a career and be able to study Nelson's Navy in much more depth and make discoveries for myself about the Age of Sail.  Someday I hope to write a book about the great man, once my mind is full to the brim of knowledge! But my biggest ambition: to make Nelson a popular hero again- especially for the younger generations!

 As a Nelson enthusiast, it is very important to me that the two-century-long fascination with Nelson and his times continues grow and flourish. I write this blog with one goal in mind: to make something which was entertaining, informative and arouses people's interest. This I hope (fingers crossed!) I will achieve. Let me know how I do!

I also make YouTube videos for the same purpose. Please feel free to check those out by clicking on the link below!

 http://www.youtube.com/raeraeandbunty/

 And thus concludes my first post!

 Have fun and enjoy the rest of the website!

 Rae-Rae :)

 “Never Fear The Event”
 

    Author

    Hi there! I am second in command here at HMSH!
     My name is Rae-Rae and and I live in Worcestershire in the UK.
     I am a teen Nelson enthusiast and my passion has lasted since I was only nine- over seven years!
     I aim (rather ambitiously!) to rekindle the love of Nelson and his Navy for the younger generations and make him a well-known hero again. I want his memory never to fade!
     Please do check my YouTube channel for any Nelson-related videos, as I do post on there from time to time!

    http://www.youtube.com/raeraeandbunty/

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