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BEAUTY INFLAMES

"Thais (modeled by Miss Emily Potts or Warren later famous as Lady Hamilton)" (see related A | B), 1781 Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England

Thais was a hetaera (courtesan) and mistress of Alexander the Great. She urged him to burn the palace at Persepolis. The depiction was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1781 (therefore the painting must have been completed earlier, a point relevant regarding the age of the model). My point of view that this and a prior painting also by Sir Joshua Reynolds was the start of the fame of the future Lady Hamilton and eventually Mrs. Nelson. Furthermore, I also think that Reynolds in conjunction with his artist-painter competitor Romney exploited the then barely 15-year-old Emily (more often called Emma) who then was living in penury. Numerous comments about Emma's life are attached to her images posted on this website. These comments also illuminate the impact on European history of Emma's love for Horatio Nelson and acquaintance with multiple royals and pseudo-"gentlemen" holding nobility titles. 

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