Drawn from life at Nelson’s home, Merton, just weeks before the Battle of Trafalgar, this pastel portrait by the marine artist John Whichelo sold for £52,000 at Sotheby’s.
The drawing, which is indebted to an earlier portrait by Simon de Koster, Nelson's favourite likeness, was kept by Whichelo for 30 years, until 1838, when he began to give drawing lessons to the son of Admiral Sir William Parker, who had commanded the Amazon under Nelson.
On the day of the first lesson he sent the drawing to his pupil's father as a gift. It was sold by a descendant, accompanied by Whichelo's letter to Admiral Parker.
The portrait which sold on July 16 is one of several lots relating to Nelson including a will, sea shanty, letters and pictures, to have come up at auction recently.