Scanning of the wax portrait heads, made at the time of their deaths in 1805 and 1806, was performed using state-of-the-art equipment owned by Guy’s and St Thomas’, with all the scientists, curators, conservators and abbey staff involved in the project working unpaid overtime . .
The figure – dressed in one of the admiral’s uniforms and a hat with a flap that folds down to protect his blind eye – is startlingly lifelike, a fact vouched for by his mistress, Emma Hamilton, who was barred from his state funeral but brought discreetly into the abbey to see the effigy.
. . Nelson sat for his portrait, made by wax artist Patience Wright, whose double life might have surprised the admiral – she was also an American spy, who enclosed secret messages in the wax busts she sent to the US.
. . The scanning forms part of extensive conservation work on the abbey’s collection, before a new museum opens in 2018 in the triforium, the attic of the church never before open to the public.
New tower will reveal hidden world of Westminster Abbey www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/dec/14/new-tower-will-reveal-hidden-world-westminster-abbey
[ This message was edited on Tue Jun 6 by the author ]