Nelson in the News: 15th July 2013
Nelson's Last Portrait
This is the last portrait made of Nelson from life, and it sold recently at
Sotheby's for £64,900.
It's one of the less 'pretty' portraits of Nelson, but for that reason is
also one of the most human and realistic. The artist was John
Whichelo, who created the chalk portrait when visiting Nelson at Merton in
September 1805. Nelson sailed from Portsmouth on 14th September, so
the sitting really was squeezed in at the last moment.
The portrait, showing Nelson in profile looking to the left, is very similar
to the one painted by Simon de Koster (see bottom of page) in 1800.
That one was known to be one of Nelson's favourites of himself, so it's
possible that either directly or indirectly, he influenced the 21-year-old
Whichelo to create something similar.
Whichelo kept the
portrait himself for 33 years, until in 1838 he was employed in giving
drawing lessons to the son of Rear-Admiral Sir William Parker. Then he
gave it to Parker with the note:
"Mr Whichelo most respectfully begs
to send Sir Wm Parker the Head of the Late Illustrious Nelson. Drawn
by him from the Hero during his short stay at Merton the beginning of
It remained with Parker's descendents ever since,
until the sale in July 2013.
Copyright Vicki Singleton 2013.