Exploration into... Lady Emma Hart Hamilton (Amy Lyon)

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2012-05-10 13:49

Lady Emma Hart Hamilton (Amy Lyon)

Emma Hamilton

Amy Lyon was the daughter of a blacksmith who aspired for bigger things in her life. She wanted to be more than just the regular girl and these aspirations led her to become a legend, immortalized for all time. She was a wild child with an iron will, arresting beauty and haunting eyes that left a wake of gentlmen in their path. She had the air of liberty that rose from inside of her and floated out to touch those around her.


It was no secret that Amy was a beauty, when she left a steady job as an under-nursemaid to work in Mrs. Kelly's brothel she was touching the stepping stones that would throw her into a sex-fueled life companioned by aristocracy. She changed her name when she went to work for James Graham, the man who owned the "Celestial Bed" claiming that anyone who spent a night in the bed would conceive the perfect child and any man or woman who was sterile would be able to reproduce. Amy changed her name to Emma Lyon. She wanted to erase any lingering stigma of her previous work as a Kelly girl and start fresh with Graham. She posed for prospective clients in and around the bed, she was a fetching beauty and model work agreed with her. She certainly caught the eye of Sir Harry Featherstonehaugh who whisked her away to be his personal lover at his cottage in Sussex. At this time she became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl she named Emma Carew. It was at this time Emma changed her name to Emma Hart, and this is how she was introduced to Featherstonehaugh's guests. No more was there any tie to the questionable Amy Lyon.


It was during her stay with Featherstonehaugh (who went on to do social steps of his own) that she became acquainted with Charles Greville who was the nephew of her later husband Sir William Hamilton. Charles was enraptured with Emma's beauty and ventured he could make a tidy fortune on paintings he had commissioned by George Romney. Romney's portraits of Emma were indeed legendary as Romney set out to capture every side of the ravishing young lady. Greville whisked Emma away from Featherstonehaugh and brought Emma, her mother and her daughter to live with him. However not all was well in the den of iniquity and after a little while things became tense. Emma sent her daughter to live with a relative and after numerous attempts to keep the love affair hot truly believed that she had won back Greville's favor. Little did she know Greville had met a bigger meal-ticket and was planning her depature.


Greville sent Emma and her mother to the home of his uncle, Sir William Hamilton. Greville sweetened his uncle's pot by telling him that she "was the only woman he had slept with without offending his senses, a cleaner, sweeter bed-fellow did not exist". Naturally Hamilton was anxious to have the girl with him and under the pretense Greville would only be gone 6 months and then come back to get her Emma and her mother agreed to go to Naples and stay with Hamilton.


Hamilton wasted no time once Emma was settled in his home to tell her that Greville had no intention of marrying her. Despite Hamilton's warning Emma wrote to Greville continuously until she exhausted her hope. Emma, being the surviver, made the best of the situation and went about making a name for herself. She did a famous dance much like the dance of the seven veils and guests were in favor of her talent. She and Hamilton grew to an understanding together and Emma consented to marry Hamilton. Her role in the Hamilton house was that of beautiful object, she was well-cared for, she had a pleasant, awe-inspiring disposition that made many like her, and she became very close to the queen of Naples.


Emma's life changed on the course of immortality when she met Lord Nelson, a naval hero of England who came to Hamilton's home to discuss items of state. She was no longer a slender girl but rather a voluptuous woman and her beauty captured Lord Nelson. He was so enamoured of her he actually wrote his wife that he had met the most sensational woman of remarkable talents. After Nelson's tour in the battle of Nile Nelson returned to Naples and not home and upon his arrival Emma threw a giant party in his honor. By the time Nelson was asked to return to England he was far too much in love with Emma to leave her. Emma convinced Hamilton to accompany her to England so they could all share in the country-wide celebration that was going to be held in Nelson's honor for his heroism and victories in battle. It was during the time of their return to England that Emma and Nelson decided that they were going to be together. Emma gave birth to Nelson's daughter Horatia and Nelson decided to leave his wife and live with Emma. By this time Hamilton had returned to Naples and died 2 years later after a long illness.


There were no rainbows in sight for Emma however, a difficult life filled with many ups and downs took an even greater tragic turn when Nelson was killed in battle 4 years after their move in together. Emma was desolate and to make matters worse the government refused to honor Nelson's will and Emma was left only their home which required upkeep far beyond Emma's means and she lost it. History lost track of her in detail for awhile but eventually Emma ended up in prison for debt looking way beyond her age, her beauty replaced by stress lines and wrinkles from living a hard life consumed by alcohol.


An arresting beauty whose will and determination led a good fight for happiness but ultimately defeated by the world around her.


Her portraits:

Emma as the goddess Circe

Emma as 3 of the muses

Emma as Ariadne

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