Oil on canvas, 123cm by 93.5cm.
The artist painted this picture in Rome in 1764 for the 9th Earl of Exeter during his first Grand Tour. Hamilton, a Scot, was a history painter, whose works were mainly of Classical Greek and Roman subjects; his canvasses often very large. He was also an archaeologist who excavated many Classical sites in Italy, selling some of the sculptures he found to Grand Tourists. In an age of often unscrupulous dealings, his reputation was that of an honest man.
Emma, Lady Hamilton (1765-1815) was the second wife of Sir William Hamilton, the British Envoy to Naples, a noted connoisseur and collector of antiquities. She is, however, better known as the mistress of Lord Nelson and the muse of the artist George Romney.