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Relief - Lord Nelson
  • Lord Nelson
    Andras, Catherine, born 1775 - died 1860
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Lord Nelson

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1806 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Andras, Catherine, born 1775 - died 1860 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Modelled wax, in giltwood frame

  • Credit Line:

    From the Mary Bate Collection.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case 11

Object Type
This small wax portrait of the naval hero Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805) was modelled from the life in 1802. The likeness was much admired, and was later used as the basis for the portrait by Conrad Heinrich Küchler in his design for the obverse of the Trafalgar medal, produced by Matthew Boulton. A contemporary wrote to Boulton in 1806, reporting a conversation with Lady Hamilton, Nelson's mistress, in which 'she shewed me the inclosed Wax Profile which She declares is the most striking likeness that has been taken, & much more so than our little drawing or print by Mr Da Costa. On asking Lady H: in what features the model so closely resembled Lord Nelson as she had declared; she said, in the direction & form of the nose, mouth and chin, that the general carriage of the body was exactly his, and that altogether the likeness was so great it was impossible for anybody who had known him to doubt about or mistake it.'

Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was born in Bristol, but moved to London to work. She exhibited in the capital from 1799 onwards, and in 1802 was appointed Modeller in Wax to Queen Charlotte. In the same year she was awarded 'The Larger Silver Pallet' by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her model of Princess Charlotte and this one of Lord Nelson. She was active until 1855.

Materials & Making
Wax portraits were particularly popular in Britain in the second half of the 18th century. They were often modelled from the life; a mould could be made from this initial model, from which further copies could be cast. The waxes were small and portable, and the nature of the material meant that they were extremely naturalistic. Sometimes they were coloured, and extra items added, such as textiles, seed pearls or coloured glass, to increase the life-like appearance of the portrayal.

Physical description

The profile relief, in pale pink wax on black glass of Lord nelson is shown facing to the left. He is shown wearing naval uniform with epaulettes, insignia and medal and a long wig, tied at the back of his neck with a ribbon.


1806 (made)


Andras, Catherine, born 1775 - died 1860 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Modelled wax, in giltwood frame

Marks and inscriptions

Torn handwritten label on reverse reads: 'Portrait of (the) late Lord Nelson modelled from the life by Miss Andrass Modeller in wax to her Majesty. 87 Pall Mall.'


Height: 18 cm with frame, Width: 15 cm

Object history note

By Catherine Andras (born in Bristol, 1775, died in London, 1860)

Historical context note

In 1802 Catherine Andras was awarded the Larger Silver Pallet by the Society for the Encourgement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce for models in wax of Princess Charlotte and Lord Nelson.

Descriptive line

Wax relief of Lord Nelson (1758-1805)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pyke, E.J. A Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers, Oxford, 1973, p. 5.
Pollard, J.G. 'Matthew Boulton and Conrad Heinrich Küchler' in Numismatic Chronicle, 7th S, X, 1970, p. 306

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This wax portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson (1750-1805) was considered by his lover, Emma, Lady Hamilton, 'the most striking likeness' taken of him. [27/03/2003]




Sculpture; A Year of Objects: October, Trafalgar Day


Sculpture Collection

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