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Horatio Nelson - Wounded at the Battle of the Nile

Horatio Nelson - Wounded at the Battle of the Nile

History tells us that Lord Horatio Nelson likely owned this painting. It depicts how he appeared during the Battle of the Nile when he sustained a head injury.

The painting, attributed to artist Guy Head, was likely produced around 1800. It is now owned by the National Maritime Museum (in Greenwich, London).

The BBC tells us more about the incident depicted in this painting:

...The painting represents the moment when the French flagship 'L'Orient' blew up. Nelson had received a severe wound in the head from a piece of langridge, rough metal fired as shot. The surgeons were dressing this below when, hearing that a ship was on fire, he ran back up on deck.

The portrait is believed to have been owned by Nelson. This significantly means that it is probably based on an accurate account of his battered appearance at this period. He had been severely injured above the eye, bandaged, racked with a headache and pain, and probably concussed.

Nelson stands among the rigging with a battle raging in the background. The interpretation is unusual and although theatrical it is also surprisingly intimate, showing the sitter with a shirt open at the neck and tucked into his waistband. His hand rests on his heart in a gesture more akin to a love portrait and, despite the grey hair, he appears youthful with the trappings of uniform removed...

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Painting owned by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.  Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

PD

 

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