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.
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.
in it's place (from Nelson's eye wound in Corsica), whereas Mask Two Mask Two doesn't.
But what do these masks tell us?
They support what quite a few of the portraits show, and what some of the accounts say.
In some portraits such as the ones by William Beechy and Schmidt, show Nelson's right, blinded, eye being smaller than the left one. This is shown in both life masks.
It also supports the general physical characteristic of Nelson's face- it can be clearly seen that he had quite a sizey, rounded nose, prominent eyelids, curved eyebrows, full lips, especially the bottom one, a sloping forehead, and a lined and thin face.
The only problem with the life masks is said by Beechy, whose portrait was also accurate, who said that the bust made by Thaller and Ranson, which was based on the masks, was "deficient" because "he pursed up his chin and screwed up his features when the plaster was poured on it, the nose is very like and so is the mouth, the chin not at all, the latter was thin and flat, in the bust it is pointed; the breadth of the face is like but too thin..."
I think that speaks for itself.
Despite this, the masks are probably the most reliable image of Nelson there are, giving an accurate view of his face and features.
All I can say is: I. Want. To. See. It.
Andras had the extreme honour to be asked to create the effigy after the success of a wax profile of Nelson which she had previously made, after sittings with the Admiral.
As you can tell the pose was based a lot on the Hoppner portrait, even to the fact that he was leaning on a big rock.
The hair is a greyish-brown and the face looks exactly like the life masks. The forehead, although, it can't be seen in this image because of the lock of Nelson's hair (which is placed apparently how Nelson wore it), has the inverted 'V' shape scar, and slight scarring at the end of the eyebrow.
It was placed in Westminster Abbey, and is still there today.
Apparently, Emma, when asked, said that it most resmebled Nelson "in the direction and form of the nose, mouth, and chin, that the general carriage of the body was exactly his, and that altogether the likeness was so great that it was impossible for anybody who had known him to doubt about or mistake it."
Did I mention that I'm dying to see it?
So, here ends my "What Did Nelson Look Like" series!
Which image is the most life like?
Of course my choice is the wax effigy by Catherine Andras!!! The closest thing to Nelson himself!
And the winning portrait, in terms of facial accuracy, has to be, and I can't believe I'm saying this, the Guzzardi portrait!
For everything else, I think the top five (in no particular order) are: Hoppner's, Beechey's and Abbott's (both of which were not featured individually for lack of time!), Lucy's and De Koster's.
I'd love to hear your views on the images too! Let me know what you think in the comments below!