The Abbey’s press release sets the record straight:
‘ . . The Abbey has an important collection of funeral effigies, dating from the death of King Edward III in 1377. They were originally made to lie on top of the coffin, dressed in ceremonial clothes, to represent the dead monarch lying beneath. The Abbey’s earliest wax effigy is Charles II (died 1685), whose hand has also been scanned in this collaboration. The lifelike wax head of William Pitt, was one of the last to be made by Patience Wright, the American wax sculptor who was as celebrated in her day as Madame Tussaud.
Nelson’s wax head was made during his lifetime and acquired by the Abbey as a tourist attraction after his death. His lover, Lady Emma Hamilton, thought that it was so lifelike that she apparently arranged a lock of the hair as he always wore it.
Both effigies will form part of the display in a new museum and gallery at Westminster Abbey