Nelson & His World

Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson
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Author:  tycho [ Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson

This report of the sale of an unknown portrait-sketch of Nelson has appeared only in the Daily Express, it seems. Maybe one of the 'heavies' will pick it up. The Times and the Telegraph usually highlight Nelson news.

The provenance seems a bit sketchy. Any comments ? (Looking at you, Mark!) ... -trafalgar

Author:  Starhawk [ Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson

I absolutely love this portrait, and I so want it to be genuinely drawn from life. I really hope the new owner will display it publicly, it would be such a shame for it to disappear again.

Author:  Mark Barrett [ Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson


I don't think there is anything on the Charles Miller website yet. I'd rather wait and see exactly what they say regarding its provenance etc. It says in the Express that it was given by Burt to his brother. If that can be proven and then some reasonable provenance after that it is almost certainly genuine. But I'll reserve judgement just for now.

I don't think I have heard of anyone named Burt (Albin Burt's brother) as a secretary to Lord Nelson. Has anyone else?

Meanwhile I did a couple of Google searches and came across this from a descendant of Albin Burt. As we know there were many many boys named in some way after Nelson. But I'm not sure I ever recall coming across a boy named "Nelson" with a sister named "Emma Hamilton". That's made my day!! :)

I take you back to my third Great Grandfather Albin Roberts Burt born 1783 in Birmingham.
Albin married Sarah Jones (1785- 1854) on 31 December 1810 in Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England. They settled in Chester, where Albin Burt travelled about the country, working in Bath and Worcester (1812), Birmingham and Warwick (1814), Southampton (1814). Oxford (1817), and at intervals, London, (1805, 1814, 1820, 1830). Chester (ca. 1810-1830), Reading (1832). Painting people of all classes from a Lord down to a “boots”, apparently equally at home with all (Unwins, 16) from 1830 he lived at Reading, though he moved briefly to Southampton in 1834.
A Versatile artist with an eye for detail, Burt executed shell and stone cameos, cabinet portraits in oil, silhouettes, and miniatures on card, ivory, and copper in oil or watercolour; and engravings. He also taught miniature painting, and cleaned and repaired old paintings. One of his advertisements stated that he had ‘a new-invented machine by which the most accurate likeness can be taken’ (Foskett, Miniatures, 189). His charge for coloured profiles was a half to 1 guinea for quick half-hour sittings, 3 guineas upwards for miniatures on ivory, and 5 to 10 guineas for small full-length portraits. He signed his works ‘Burt’ followed by a date, or ‘A.R.Burt’ followed by a date and place. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807 and 1830. Distinguished sitters included Mary Mitford and the poet and hymn writer Edward Caswell. An engraving after John Jackson of Lord Nelson, with whom he was acquainted through Sir William Hamilton, is held in the National Maritime Museum, London. (According to family legend, Albin Burt’s brother, Henry Frederick Burt, was Nelson’s secretary.) To date I haven’t been able to prove this point. Albin engraved a small portrait of Nelson, and produced a great ugly print representing ‘ Lady Hamilton, as Britannia, unveiling the Bust of Nelson,’ from a drawing of a cousin of Burt’s, named Thomas Baxter (who was married to Burt’s cousin Anne Roberts), representing Lady Hamilton, who his mother knew when a girl in Wales.
After finding this information and more research about Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton I could understand why Albin & Sarah knowing them so well, named their children with the following names. Emma Hamilton Burt born 1812, Nelson Burt born 1813, Henry Wellington Burt born 1814, Frederick Roberts Burt born 1815, Maria Margaretta Burt born 1817,Albin Burt born 1820, & Nelson Burt. Emma Hamilton Burt married John William White, wondering if this might be the White line the other lady was looking for.
Albin used the small cottage 15 Station Road, Parkgate, Merseyside as a holiday home or weekend home often visiting with his family where they would spend time seabathing in the fashionable resort. In 1822 Albin and his son Nelson were returning home from a job in Liverpool on board the paddle steamer “The Prince Regent”. Before they could reach the docks at Ellesemere Port the vessel was caught in a terrible storm, during which nine people were swept overboard; sadly Nelson was one of them. His body was never recovered and the family mourned for many years. After returning to Parkgate, Albin collected some black pebbles from the beach and placed them outside the front door of his cottage as a memorial. In 1923 they were set in concrete to preserve them, where they still sit today.
Look forward to your reply.

Author:  tycho [ Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson

Great stuff, as always, Mark! Many thanks!

Author:  Phil [ Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson

The catalogue for the sale is now available online on the Charles Miller website under 'Maritime & Scientific Models, Instruments & Art' on Tuesday 8th November. The portrait is lot 71.

The description in the catalogue doesn't unfortunately give a great deal of further information with regard to actual provenance, just confirming that it is an unrecorded sketch and doesn't feature in Richard Walker's Nelson's Portrait book. It does however, reiterate Albin Burt's close connections to Nelson, Emma & William Hamilton. Interestingly the sketch is signed A R Burt on the lower right shoulder.

The auction also contains a few other items of Nelson interest including an unissued ticket for his funeral at St Paul's.


Author:  Phil [ Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Newly-discovered portrait of Nelson

The portrait sold for £14,000 at the auction last Tuesday.


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