This remarkable ambrotype cabinet portrait is believed to be of Horatia Nelson, circa 1850, and will be on View tomorrow from 11am at Charles Miller’s Maritime and Scientific auction preview. The lot comprises five items in all, including a miniature portrait of Horatia Nelson's doctor, John Mace Jnr dated 6th June, 1843, and a quill pen by tradition believed to have been one of Nelsons. There is much to read - see lot 48 for full information and fascinating provenance in Charles Miller’s catalogue on our website.
Horatia Nelson Ward (1801-1881) was the love child of Nelson and his mistress, Emma Hamilton. After Emma's husband, Sir William Hamilton, died in 1803, Horatia was christened with Nelson and Emma being listed as "godparents" and was shortly afterwards adopted as an "orphan". Nelson wrote to her before Trafalgar signing his letter as her "Father", left her £200 per annum in his will and asked that she take his name. After Trafalgar Emma fell on hard times and she and Horatia spent some ten months in debtors prison - a fact that caused Horatia to deny Emma as her mother. She arranged Emma's funeral in Calais in 1815 and returned to Britain disguised as a boy to evade debtors. Living in Sussex with Nelson's sister, Catherine Matcham, she was reputedly good at languages, music and sewing - all skills taught by Emma. In 1822 she married the Rev. Philip Ward (1795-1859) at Burnham Westgate - near to Nelson's father's Parish in Norfolk, and went on to produce ten children. After Philip died, Horatia moved several times and, despite renewed interest in Nelson, struggled financially. She died and was buried in Pinner, along with two of her children.
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