The Really Promising Company
The Really Promising Company

À La Emma

The Rise and Fall of Nelson's Mistress

Marlowe Theatre - Studio - Canterbury, Kent

9 - 10th February 2018

Concept and Script: Jane Jones

Musical Composer: Lewis Edmunds

Director: Sally Elkerton

Audience feedback.....


A local amateur group gave 100% entertainment. Well done to all.


A wonderful production all ages included. Fine undertaking in community theatre. Based on a true story of a forgotten woman. Enjoyed very much


An interesting and varied programme with good combination of solo and chorus pieces. With the programme as a guide the piece was easy to follow with minimal props. Very inventive.


An outstanding production highlighting the vulnerability of the character of Emma a story beautifully portrayed


Best. Show. Ever.


Great effort and an enjoyable script. Great performance really enjoyed it. Great play. Good fun!


Wonderful fresh well-performed; a little jewel.

Emma Hamilton - did you know?

  • It is worth visiting Dulwich picture gallery. There is a small portrait painted by Joshua Reynolds of a young girl nursing a baby (see above), purported to be Emma nursing her daughter.
  • Emma was 16 years old when she gave birth to her first daughter. The father is thought to be Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, who had hired her as an entertainer for his stag parties at Uppark.
  • Sir Harry eventually married his young dairy maid from Uppark when he was well over seventy years old and she just twenty.
  • It was said that Emma spent time early in her career dancing at the Temple of Health and Hymen on The Strand as a seductive celestial virgin.  After paying 50 guineas, aristocrats could spend the night in the celestial bed, an ingenious invention of magnets and electricity which was claimed to cure impotence.
  • Emma was the artistic muse of George Romney. He painted over 60 portraits of her and through the popularity of his painting, Emma became well known in society.
  • Emma was well known for her 'attitudes' which were entertainments combining dance, acting and posing - the subjects of which were classical or mythological figures.
  • Emma was said to have been offered the position of prima Donna at the opera in Milan, so fine was her singing voice. Haydn once accompanied her singing. She is said to have also sung at a service in Canterbury Cathedral.
  • Sir William Hamilton was brought up with George III who called him his foster brother.
  • Sir William’s vast collection of Ancient Greek vases and bronzes became an important impetus in the creation of the British Museum. Sir William’s collection gave Joshua Wedgwood the inspiration for his pottery.
  • When Nelson was anchored in the Downs, Sir William was quite happy to be taken fishing by the boatmen, while the two lovers spent time alone in the Hotel on the Deal seafront.
  • Nelson suffered with chronic toothache.
  • Horatia Nelson (Emma’s second child) married a clergyman and gave birth to 10 children. She is buried in Tenterden, Kent.
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