Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:25 am

What remains of the old ATU thread:

LINK EXPIRED

...so instead here's a picture of the delectable Emma:


Lady Hamilton by George Romney c 1785.

Wiki:

Emma, Lady Hamilton (26 April 1765; baptised 12 May 1765 – 15 January 1815) is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney. She was born Amy Lyon in Ness near Neston, Cheshire, England, the daughter of a blacksmith, Henry Lyon, who died when she was two months old. She was brought up by her mother, formerly Mary Kidd, at Hawarden, with no formal education. She later changed her name to Emma Hart.


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:38 pm

Wiki:

As Sir William's mistress, Emma developed what she called her "Attitudes", using Romney's idea of combining classical poses with modern allure as the basis for her act. This eventual cross between postures, dance, and acting, was first revealed in Spring 1787 by Sir William to a large group of European guests at his home in Naples, who quickly took to this new form of entertainment - guessing the names of the classical characters and scenes which Emma portrayed.

For her "Attitudes", Emma had her dressmaker make dresses modeled on those worn by peasant islanders in the Bay of Naples, and on loose-fitting garments such as she wore when modeling for Romney. The performance was a sensation across Europe. Using a few shawls, she posed as various classical figures from Medea to Queen Cleopatra, and her performances charmed aristocrats, artists such as Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, writers — including the great Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — and kings and queens alike, setting off new dance trends across Europe and starting a fashion for a draped Grecian style of dress.

Attitudes were taken up by several other (female) artists, among them Ida Brun from Denmark, who became Emma's successor. The famed sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen admired her art. Attitudes was, of course, a form of "mime art", which disappeared for a long time, only to surface again in the 20th century. Emma developed her Attitudes from mere poses to small, wordless plays - in her later years she excelled as Medea.

Emma was also a talented amateur singer. She sang one of the solo parts of Haydn's Nelson Mass and entertained guests at her home. At one point, the Royal Opera in Madrid tried to engage her for a season, in competition with their star, Angelica Catalani, but that offer was turned down.


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:40 pm


Emma as Circe by George Romney, 1782.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:44 pm


Emma as Cassandra by George Romney.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:46 pm


Emma as a bacchante (a follower of the god Dionysus) by George Romney.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:48 pm


Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante, by Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, 1790–1791

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:50 pm


Lady Hamilton as Ariadne by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, 1790.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:55 pm


1801 Caricature of Lady Emma Hamilton (1765-1815) in political cartoon by James Gillray titled "Dido in Despair" re her love affair w. Lord Horatio Nelson, Admiral in the British Navy, interrupted by the resumption of fighting in the Napoleonic War.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:58 pm


Thomas Rowlandson caricature of Emma Hamilton as an artist's model posing in an "attitude".

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:05 pm



Emma’s stint as Romney’s model had given her experience posing in various classical guises. She’d also had the dubious distinction earlier in her career in London, of having worked as a scantily clad model and dancer – or “Goddess of Health” – at Dr. Graham’s Temple of Health and Hymen, which claimed to cure the reproductive and sexual problems of couples. Emma used her “theatrical” experiences to develop her “Attitudes”. In helping Emma design her act, Sir William, whose knowledge of the imagery on classical vases was authoritative, used ancient Roman pantomimes as a model. The result of their collaboration was a silent performance that combined poses, classical dance and acting with Emma’s special allure. Emma gave her first showing in spring of 1787 to a group of European guests. Sir William held the lights and introduced his wife, as he would do for all her theatrics.

The poses were an immediate hit. Emma moved through her routine within a tall black box surrounded by a gold picture frame, using only a shawl or urn for a prop. (Although she must have occasionally used a child, as included in these images.) For her “Attitudes”, Emma wore simple white-draped garments that fitted loosely and allowed her long hair to flow free. Her dresses were modeled on those worn by peasant women in the Bay of Naples. Sitting, standing, leaning, or kneeling, or posing as Medea or Cleopatra, she seemed to step right off the antique vases that her husband collected.

Emma’s repertoire was large and made up of at least 200 poses. During a performance she moved from one silent tableau to the other with great rapidity, delicacy. and deliberateness in what one writer termed ‘bursts of stillness.’ The private and select audiences would attempt to guess the names of the classical characters and scenes from stage and literature that she pantomimed, and stare in awe at Emma’s ability to transform her moods and the scene in an instant. Out of necessity, earlier viewings remained private, for Sir William and Emma were not married.

The couple did eventually marry in London in 1791 at St. George’s Church in Hanover Square. Sir William was 61 and his wife was 26. After their wedding, the Hamiltons returned to their home in Italy. They continued to perform the “Attitudes, but now they could publicly and conspicuously invite a much larger and more diverse audience. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German poet, had been invited to watch a performance during a visit to Naples. Impressed, he wrote:

The Chevalier Hamilton so long resident here as English Ambassador, so long too connoisseur and student of Art and Nature, has found their counterpart and acme with exquisite delight in a lovely girl, English, and some twenty years of age. She is exceedingly beautiful and finely built. She wears a Greek garb becoming her to perfection. She then merely loosens her locks takes a pair of shawls, and effects changes of postures, moods, gestures, mien, and appearance that make one really feel as if one were in some dream. Here is visible complete and bodied forth in movements of surprising variety, all that so many artists have sought in vain to fix and render. Successively standing, kneeling, seated, reclining, grave, sad, sportive, teasing, abandoned, penitent, alluring, threatening, agonised. One follows the other and grows out of it. She knows how to choose and shift the simple folds of her single kerchief for every expression, and to adjust it into a hundred kinds of headgear. Her elderly knight holds the torches for her performance, and is absorbed in his soul’s desire.

There must have been something titillating and erotic about Emma’s act, for her poses, although inspired by classical motifs, also drew upon her earlier experiences as a “Goddess of Health” in London and her erotic performances dancing naked for Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh’s friends on his dining table. Her fame spread far and wide, and Emma, Lady Hamilton’s “Attitudes” became a big draw on Europe’s Grand Tour. Painters and writers sought out her performances, which charmed aristocrats and royals as much as artists and the literary set. Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun observed:

“Nothing was more curious than the faculty that Lady Hamilton had acquired of suddenly imparting to all her features the expression of sorrow or joy, and of posing in a wonderful manner in order to represent different characters. Her eyes alight with animation, her hair strewn about her, she displayed to you a delicious bacchanale, then all at once her face expressed sadness, and you saw an admirable repentant Magdalene.” – Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun


Lady Emma Hamilton, 1794, Rehberg

The black and white Rehberg illustrations featured in this post and commisioned by Sir William, are drawn with simple, graceful and classical lines and freeze a particular “Attitude”. Their idealistic poses are among the few visual reminders that remain of Emma, Lady Hamilton as a performance artist. As the images show, Emma was a voluptuous, well-formed and beautiful woman. Her love for food and drink was no secret, and she would gain a substantial amount of weight over time, until at 47 she was described as being fat. But for a number of magical years, art, performance and beauty combined to create a series of tableaus that are still remembered today for their freshness and originality.


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:07 pm

Wiki:

After Nelson's death in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, Emma quickly exhausted the small pension Sir William had left her and fell deeply into debt. Nelson had willed his estate to his brother; he gave Merton Place to Emma, but she depleted her finances by trying to keep it up as a monument to him. In spite of Nelson's status as a national hero, the instructions he left to the government to provide for Emma and Horatia were ignored. They showered honours on Nelson's brother instead.

Emma spent a year in a virtual debtor's prison, in the company of Horatia, before moving to France to try to escape her creditors. Turning to drink, she died in poverty of amoebic dysentery, an illness she probably picked up in her years living in Naples (Sir William Hamilton also suffered from this), in Calais, in January 1815.


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:10 pm


In A Cognocenti contemplating ye Beauties of ye Antique (1801), James Gillray caricatured Sir William's attitude toward the affair between Emma and Nelson. Emma is the portrait of "Cleopatra" in the upper left, and Nelson is the adjacent "Mark Antony".

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Catwalk supermodelling started here? The 'Attitudes' of Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton

Post  Sponsored content Today at 9:43 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum