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Nelson love letters go on show in Great Yarmouth

15 June 11 17:33
Nelson's tomb at St Paul's Cathedral

Letters written by Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton have gone on display in Norfolk.

The four original letters dated between 1801 and 1806 have been loaned to Great Yarmouth's Nelson Museum by a private collection.

In one note Nelson shows his jealousy because of the Prince of Wales' interest in his lover.

Lady Hamilton's final dispatch reveals her anger at her treatment by the British government after his death.

Curator Hannah Bentley said: "It is poignant seeing their written words."

The pieces will go on display as part of the museum's Nelson's Women: Philanderer or Family Man exhibition until November 2012.

"The letters were all written after four significant events," said Mrs Bentley.

"Lady Hamilton's writing after Nelson's death was very erratic - you can tell the passion in its appearance."

Romantic life

The national hero left his wife Fanny for Emma Hamilton in 1800, and their daughter Horatia was born the year after.

Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe, north Norfolk, and died leading the British fleet to victory at Cape Trafalgar.

The Nelson Museum launched the exhibition examining the naval commander's private life in February.

Shortly afterwards trustees from the Denys Spittle Collection got in touch offering their letters after spotting press coverage about it.

"I nearly bit their hand off when they offered them," said Mrs Bentley.

"I was really pleased. I didn't even know where these letters were.

"They have been published before but to have the originals is fantastic."

Permanent collection

The museum has also boosted its permanent collection after a donation of more than 400 items of Nelson memorabilia.

A commemorative chess set is one of the objects to go on display from the collection of the late Peter Ford, from Worcester.

The museum received the pieces, including 10 folders of newspaper cuttings in February, but they have only just been sorted through.

The variety and number of objects have sparked an idea for a future temporary exhibition.

"It is amazing what Nelson has ended up on, and someone has suggested that we should do an exhibition on Nelson and branding," said Mrs Bentley.

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