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Reverend Hugh [Herbert Edward] Nelson-Ward, 1863-1952


Object connections:

Collection Miniatures, Fine art
User collections Moustaches by lucinda
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Nelson-Ward, Hugh Herbert Edward

Object details:

Object ID MNT0010
Description Rectangular miniature in watercolour on ivory in a rectangular gilt metal frame with a suspension loop, top centre. The initials 'NW' painted on the back indicate it is part of the Nelson-Ward collection which the sitter presented to the Museum, its formal acquisition date being 1946 though elements were on loan from at least 1939. He is shown in head and shoulders in right profile, wearing a grey chalk-stripe three-piece suit with a black tie. The miniature was probably done in the 1920s, perhaps about the time of his retirement, and shows him as blue-eyed and with receding and greying sandy hair, and a moustache. It is possible he had it done in profile in imitation of Simon de Koster's profile portrait drawing and engraving of Lord Nelson - his great-grandfather - since there are traces of resemblance, including the blue eyes and similar hair colour, though the de Koster is in left profile. Hugh was one of the grandchildren of Horatia Nelson-Ward, Nelson's daughter by Lady Hamilton: in 1822 she married the Revd Philip Ward (who later changed the family name to Nelson-Ward) and they had a large family. Their eldest child was the Revd Horatio Nelson Ward (1822-88), who from 1853 was Rector of Radstock, Somerset, though he only formally changed his own name to Nelson-Ward by deed-poll in 1881, the year of his mother's death. Hugh in turn was his third son and fourth child (of five). It is not yet clear where he was educated since he does not appear on either the Oxford or Cambridge graduate databases (though his father was at Pembroke College, Cambridge). He subsequently became Rector of Newdigate, Surrey, 1899 -1906 (see article by John Callcutt in the Newdigate Society Magazine, no. 58, Sept. 2001) and Rector of Wicken, Northants, 1909-28. He never married, inherited a family collection of Nelson material (to which he added), and eventually presented most to the NMM as a family gift on condition it be displayed in a special 'Nelson-Ward Room', and in memory of his grandmother, Horatia. This was done from July 1939 and again after post-war reopening in 1946 but eventually became impracticable as a permanent feature although still acknowledged in the 'Merton' bay of the Museum's Nelson gallery installed in the 1970s, and which lasted until the early 1990s. Nelson-Ward spent his later years in Bath, with a wide circle of friends, and died there in late 1952 aged nearly 90, though a brief personal note about him in 'The Times' of 6 April 1953 as a 'recent' death is not more specific.
Date made circa 1925-30

Artist/Maker unidentified
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Nelson-Ward Collection
Materials watercolour; ivory; gilt
Measurements Overall: 93 x 71 mm
  • Reverend Hugh [Herbert Edward] Nelson-Ward, 1863-1952 (MNT0010)
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