Gamlin, Hilda.


Liverpool & London, 1st.ed., 1891. Xii + 299 pp., 2 port. frontispieces, + 45 other portraits, views, facsimiles, etc. (some tinted). Re-bound in burgundy half-calf ; gilt ; 4 of the 6 panels with gilt-tooled corner pieces ; raised bands ; marbled boards; t.e.g., others uncut. 29 x 23cm. FINE. Hilda Gamlin (1844-1898), wrote a total of five books towards the end of her life, this biography of Lady Hamilton was her first and most lavishly produced work. She lived on the Wirral Peninsula where Emma herself was born about 1765, and the author gathered together a good deal of local hitherto unpublished material for her biography. She stood fast to her belief that the relationship between Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton was a platonic one, and although on this point she was in error, she nevertheless puts forward a very convincing case and produces an outstanding biography. Next to Frankau’s study of Emma published in two huge volumes in 1911 – strong on illustrations but weak on narrative – Mrs. Gamlin’s biography is one of the most beautifully illustrated studies of Lady Hamilton. The plates are of a very high quality and include portraits and views reproduced from rare engravings in addition to facsimile letters, documents, and plates showing Emma’s twelve female ‘Attitudes’. The narrative contains many unusual and out-of-the-way anecdotes and more than a century later it has lost none of its original charm. Emma’s fairy-tale life from the poverty of a country village to life in a foreign court unfolds in these pages. She was hailed as the most beautiful woman of her age, rubbed shoulders with royalty, married the British Ambassador to Naples, and became mistress to the Hero of the Nile - only to plunge once more into a life of poverty pursued by debtors and meeting her lonely death at Calais in 1815 with only her illegitimate daughter by her side. Her story is told with sympathy and understanding - the exception rather than the rule in Victorian biographies – and contains material not found elsewhere. FINE BINDING copy.

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