Emma, Lady Hamilton, in a classical pose, dancing and poised on her right foot
Plate VI showing attitudes of Lady Hamilton.; Bound with PAD3215-PAD3220, PAD3222-PAD3227.
This is plate VI of a set of twelve engravings by Piroli after the German artist Rehberg, published in 1794. All are of the 'attitudes' for which Emma Hamilton was celebrated throughout Europe. In her performances of these, which she first began about 1786, Emma adopted poses taken from classical sculpture or Renaissance painting: at one point Sir William Hamilton even constructed a special box with a black border for her to pose in, to imitate more closely the appearance of a framed painting. She was certainly encouraged by her husband's love of the antique, and performed the 'attitudes' not just in Naples, where Rehberg made his drawings for these plates, but throughout the courts of Europe.
Numerous contemporary descriptions praise both her skill at adopting poses that would have been easily recognizable to connoisseurs steeped in a classical education and her own naturally 'classical' beauty. Rehberg's publication was highly popular, running to several editions: so much so that it was lampooned in 1807 by (probably) James Gillray, who substituted for the graceful, classically proportioned body of Rehberg's prints a 'considerably enlarged' figure, truer to the by then excessively fat Lady Hamilton, in what was termed a 'new edition â”œÂ½Ã”Ã»Ãª_ humbly dedicated to all admirers of the grand and sublime'.
Frederick Rehberg (artist)
Original size: 264 mm x 206 mm
- Image reference: PU3221
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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