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The Life and Letters of Emma Hamilton (Hardback)

The Story of Admiral Nelson and the Most Famous Woman of the Georgian Age

Maritime > Naval Military > Frontline Books Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic > Nelson & Trafalgar P&S History > British History > Georgian History Women of History

By Hugh Tours
Frontline Books
Pages: 286
ISBN: 9781526770431
Published: 5th February 2020



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Emma, Lady Hamilton, rose from poverty to become a media celebrity, and her relationship with Admiral Nelson, and her renowned beauty, made her the most instantly-recognisable woman of her era, with the press following her every move. She was a friend of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples, longed-after by the Prince of Wales, and was a high society fashion icon.

Born in 1765, Emma was the daughter of the village blacksmith in Neston, Cheshire, who died just two months later, leaving the family in difficult circumstances. After failing to find a permanent position locally, Emma took the stagecoach to London and the start of her remarkable journey to international fame. Emma worked for various actresses at Dury Lane theatre, before becoming a dancer, a model and, later, a hostess. Her beauty brought her to the attention of Charles Grenville, the second son of the Earl of Warwick, who took her as his mistress, and became the model for the painter George Romney. These paintings thrust Emma into the social spotlight and she soon became London’s top celebrity.

When Grenville needed to find a rich wife, Emma was passed onto Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy to Naples. The couple fell in love and were married in September 1791. When in Naples, Lady Hamilton, as she now was, became a close friend of Queen Maria Carolina, sister of Marie Antoinette. It was also in Naples that she met Admiral Nelson – and the great love affair began.

Much has been written about this later period of her life, but with Hugh Tours making full use of the letters Emma wrote as well as those she received throughout her life, the fascinating story of her early years is also revealed. This is history as moving as a great tragic novel; most moving of all, being the return, after Trafalgar, of Emma’s last letter to Nelson, unopened.

Reads like a romantic novel, could have been written by someone of the calibre of Jean Plaidy... Absolutely fascinating and full of revelations by author Hugh Tours.

Books Monthly

Emma, Lady Hamilton, rose from humble beginnings to become a media celebrity, and her relationship with Nelson, and her renowned beauty, made her the most instantly-recognisable woman of her era. She married Sir William Hamilton, the British Envoy to Naples in 1791. And it was in Naples that she met Admiral Nelson – and the great love affair began. Tours, through her letters, provides fascinating insights into her life. This is history as moving as a tragic novel; most poignant of all being the return, after Trafalgar, of Emma’s last letter to Nelson, unopened.

Read the full review here

Julian Stockwin Blog

Really interesting look at Emma Hamilton I love reading personal letters it gives a very intimate view of her life and time in history.

NetGalley, Abby Siverman

It's such an interesting period of history this is definitely worth a read.

NetGalley, Emma Cannon

A nice source of primary information about her.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

About Hugh Tours

Born in Chiswick on 15 July 1910, HUGH BERTHOLD TOURS was educated at Aldenham. From early on his great interests were engineering and steam railways. A career with the Bank of England was interrupted in 1939 when Hugh enlisted in the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant RNVR, serving as a Gunnery Officer in the Far East as well as on the Russian Convoys – he was involved in the events surrounding Convoy PQ-17 as a member of the crew of HMS Norfolk. After the war ended Hugh returned to the Bank of England, where he started his literary career writing articles on cars that he tested for the Bank of England magazine. In his last few years with The Old Lady of Thread Needle Street Hugh was asked to delve into the Bank’s archives and to create an internal museum.

Perfect Partner

That Hamilton Woman Emma and Nelson (Hardback)

Emma Hamilton, much maligned by her contemporaries and later by historians and commentators, rose from the most humble beginnings to play a startling role in Britain’s naval victory over France and Spain in 1805. In this new book Barry Gough, employing the letters between the protagonists, and the unpublished examination of her career by famed American historian of the Royal Navy Arthur Marder, strongly defends Emma. He shows how this most talented of women and the beauty of her age fell victim to innuendo, slander and cruel caricature. She was to die in poverty in Calais in 1815, just months…

By Barry Gough

Click here to buy both titles for £32.98
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