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Captain Horatio Nelson (1758–1805)

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A three-quarter-length portrait to the right in captain's full-dress uniform, over three years' seniority, 1774–1787. Although the portrait was begun in 1777, when Nelson was a lieutenant, it was not finished until at least 1781 when he had returned to England as a captain and possibly later, given that over-three-years uniform would only have been appropriate from mid-1782, when he was again out of England. X-rays reveal that, as begun, the portrait showed a rounder-faced Nelson standing bare-headed in lieutenant's uniform with his hat under his left arm. The fined-down features of the finished picture reflect the effects of his intervening years in the tropics, including the fever that nearly killed him during the San Juan River expedition in Nicaragua, 1780.

National Maritime Museum



Captain Horatio Nelson (1758–1805)




oil on canvas


H 127 x W 101.5 cm

Accession number


Work type



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National Maritime Museum

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