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Emma Hart afterwards Lady Hamilton as the goddess of health while being exhibited in that character by Dr Graham in Pall Mall by R Cosway

PAF4385
Fine art

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Object details:

Object ID PAF4385
Description Medium includes brown ink. If this drawing is contemporary with the role of 'Hygeia' (Roman 'Vestina') that Emma plays in it, it is presumably circa 1775-80. Dr James Graham (1745-94) was a notable quack who ran a Temple of Health and Hymen in the Adelphi and later Schomberg House, Pall Mall, where he lectured on magnetism etc, and promoted 'healthy living'. The enterprise had a strong erotic sub-text, the Temple's 'celestial bed' being available to couples - supposedly married, infertile and wishing to conceive - at a fee reported to be £100 a night. Emma was one of Graham's 'acolytes' there before becoming the mistress of Sir Harry Featherstonehaugh of Uppark in 1781. This drawing appeared at the Antique Dealers' Fair at Grosvenor House in September 1934, when it was bought for presentation to the then newly founded Museum by Captain G. G. Thorne RNR. A report in 'The Times' of 22 September said (undoubtedly wrongly) that it is by Charles Greville and, more credibly, that it was done in 1775: also that it was first owned by Graham and later by Sir William Hamilton. It is perhaps more likely that Greville (Hamilton's nephew) had it from Graham when Emma was later his mistress, and passed it - as he did her - on to Sir William. [PvdM 3/05; amended 5/10]
Date made circa 1775

Artist/Maker Cosway, Richard
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials pen & wash
Measurements Mount: 483 mm x 318 mm;Primary support: 237 x 192mm
Parts
  • Emma Hart afterwards Lady Hamilton as the goddess of health while being exhibited in that character by Dr Graham in Pall Mall by R Cosway (PAF4385)
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