Lady Hamilton’s Youth (Part 1)

Lord Nelson‘s great love was Emma, a lady who had a quite remarkable past.

Emma Hamilton, born Amy Lyon on 26 April 1765, was the daughter a poor Cheshire blacksmith who died when she was only two months old. She was raised by her mother, and grandmother, without receiving a formal education.
Little is known of her early life except that at twelve she was in London, where she found work as a domestic servant.
The job was extremely demanding and tough and did not last long because the girl was aware of her beauty and had higher ambitions.

Therefore she moved to Covent Garden, the centre of culture, fashionable celebrities, and London’s sex trade, where she joined the 50,000 city prostitutes. Here she was noticed by the notorious Madam Kelly (real name Charlotte Hayes) who was a ‘procurer and abbess of a brothel’, near Piccadilly, where she worked as a dancer The brothel was of such high profile that the new employees were advertised in the “Town and Country Magazine”, which published a portrait of “Miss Lyon”. The job here was a ticket to finding a wealthy protector, and Amy was turned into a high-ranking courtesan.

Before that, she had already been employed for some time at a London health spa, the Pall Mall “Temple of Health and Hymen” run by the Scottish doctor James Graham, who had picked her up on the streets near his clinic, and brought her to work in the his clinic.
He was a proponent of electrical cures, and pioneer in sex therapy, and lectured on magnetism, procreation and ‘healthy living’. His Temple was partly a pseudo-scientific fertility clinic, and partly an erotic show.
Amy was one of the many attractions and played the part of Vestina, the Rosy Goddess of Youth and Health, dressed in Greek sandals and flowing diaphanous robes. She had to take a series of poses that were thought to represent the ideal of a fertile woman, creating performances that were highly admired by the clinic’s patrons.

The Temple soon attracted crowds of visitors, eager to see the scientific implements, the rich and luxurious interiors, the sexy young ‘goddesses’

For 2 guineas people could attend one of the lectures on sex that James Graham gave every night , or one of his ‘Lectures on Generation’, during which the audience was also entertained with music, poetry, and dance.

To be continued

Il grande amore di Lord Nelson fu Emma, una signora dal passato piuttosto fuori dall’ordinario

Emma Hamilton, o meglio Amy Lyon, nata il 26 aprile 1765, era la figlia di un povero fabbro del Cheshire che morì quando lei aveva solo due mesi. Fu cresciuta dalla madre e dalla nonna senza ricevere un’istruzione formale
Poco si sa della sua prima infanzia tranne che a dodici anni era a Londra, dove lavorava come domestica.
Il lavoro era estremamente impegnativo e duro e non durò a lungo perché la ragazza era conscia delle sua bellezza e aveva ambizioni più elevate.

Pertanto si trasferì a Covent Garden, il centro della cultura, delle celebrità alla moda e del commercio sessuale, unendosi alle cinquantamila prostitute della città. Qui venne notata dalla famigerata Madame Kelly (vero nome di Charlotte Hayes) che era la tenutaria di un postribolo vicino a Piccadilly, dove lavorò come ballerina. Il bordello era di così alto profilo che i nuovi dipendenti venivano reclamizzati sulla rivista Town and Country, su cui apparve anche un ritratto di “Miss Lyon”. Il lavoro qui era un biglietto da visita per trovare un ricco protettore e Amy fu trasformata in una cortigiana di alto bordo.

Prima di allora, era già stata impiegata per qualche tempo nel “Tempio di Salute e Imene” (Temple of Health and Hymen) sulla centralissima Pall Mall, gestito dal medico scozzese James Graham, che l’aveva prelevata da una strada del centro e portata a lavorare nella sua clinica.

Questi era un sostenitore delle cure elettriche e pioniere della terapia sessuale e teneva conferenze su magnetismo, procreazione e “vita sana”. Il suo tempio era in parte una pseudo-scientifica clinica della fertilità e in parte uno spettacolo erotico.
Amy era una delle tante attrazioni e interpretava la parte di Vestina, la dea rosea della giovinezza e della salute, vestita con sandali greci e abiti diafani e fluenti. Doveva assumere una serie di pose che si pensava potessero rappresentare l’idea di donna feconda, creando delle performance molto ammirate dai frequentatori della clinica.

Il Tempio attirò presto folle di curiosi, desiderosi di ammirare gli strumenti scientifici, gli interni ricchi e lussuosi, e, soprattutto, le giovani e affascinanti “dee”.

Per 2 ghinee si poteva assistere a una delle conferenze sul sesso che James Graham teneva ogni sera, o a una sua “Lezione sulla procreazione”, durante le quali il pubblico veniva intrattenuto anche con musica, poesia e danze.

Continua

Image: George Romney – Portrait of Emma Hamilton as Circe, c. 1782 – Tate Britain

85 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton’s Youth (Part 1)

  1. I had heard about the origins of Covent Garden. Hard to believe how it came from those beginnings to what it is today. Certainly an interesting beginning for Lady Hamilton. Thanks for sharing Luisa. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks a lot, Pat; 🙏🙏🙏I’m afraid that writing too long posts may bore my readers, so I prefer to divide them into parts.
        Also I confess that it is not always easy to
        write them also in a language that is not mine

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating! I look forward to reading more about Emma. Luisa, I love how you share these finer details parts of a person’s life that doesn’t quite make it to those history books. Hope you’re taking a lovely weekend. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luisa ! Your description of a brothel life is very sober as it was in context of Emma Hamilton . But does brothel life resemble to your description ? I have a doubt , Madame . I may be wrong , but I am from the City of GAYA , BIHAR ( INDIA ) and there is a big brothel area there called SARAYA ROAD , the entire road is dominated by all prostitutes of various types . I prefer not to pass through that road because these young girls all the times show vulgar gesture and posture and whispering on the bypassers . I don’t see any beauty in their such acts at all . Anyway , due to poverty or shall I say illiteracy , Lady Hamilton had to work in the prostitute . Very miserable . Thanks for sharing !

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the realistic description of a prostitution area nowadays. Perhaps then, in London, there were some upper-class brothels.
        Thank you very much , as always, for your valuable additions🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. Luisa dear, this is really very interesting. Unfortunate, poor but beautiful girls taking to prostitution is really cruel. It’s heart breaking. Excellent post. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️😊😊😊😊

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Imenedimenticavo che erano si numerose le donne a Londra che praticavano tale arte . Vicino a casa ho il bar (!) Piccadylli però ci vado solo di giorno . Di notte mi vien sonno🤷‍♂️👨‍🦳😞

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such an awesome story Lady Hamilton 🌷🙏👍🏻I read her stories Emma 👏😊
    Her younger age so much difficulties she want to bare and with her willpower
    she came step by step to success 👏👌Thank you for sharing and grace wishes 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Una vita piuttosto movimentata la sua, ero a conoscenza che fosse una onna un pò spregiudicata ma non conoscevo questi particolari. Attendo il proseguimento che sono sincera, m’incuriosisce 😉 B7ona serata cara Luisa 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very complete and interesting, Congratulations
      (PS my article will be divided into various parts also because, having to write it in English which is not my mother tongue, it takes me some time)

      Like

  7. This story took my heart. I had to get it from the root. I’m happy you displayed all the other parts in part Seven.

    Emma seems to be an opportunist who knew her worth earlier and was ready to exploit it to her own fame and power.
    Now following her closely.

    Like

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