Time is Everything

Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat.”

Horatio Nelson

 Lady Hamilton

She was born Amy Lyon, on April 16, 1765 in Ness, Chesire, a poverty-stricken community made up of a depressing huddle of thirty or more miners’ homes.  England was on the threshold of the industrial revolution and coal was the black gold of the eighteenth century. Her father, a blacksmith, died under suspicious circumstances, when she was two months old. She was left in the care of her mother, Mary Kidd who returned to her family home in Hawarden.  Amy Lyon had no formal education, nor did she have any means by which to change her situation.

“Time is everything,” as Lord Nelson declared years later.  Timing and luck were indeed in Amy Lyon’s favour.  Even at a young age, she was working, first as a maid for a local doctor in Harwarden and then for a family in Chatham Place, Blackfriars.  This is where she met her friend, Jane Powell, a turning point in Amy’s life.  Jane aspiration’s to become an actress inspired Emma to start working as a maid to the actresses of the Drury Lane theatre in Covent Garden.  Her next career was as a “Goddess of Health,” a model and dancer at James Graham’s “Temple of Health.”  An entrepreneur, showman and all around quack, James Graham used smoke fireworks and music, to support his claim that electricity, as administered via his technique, would cure all ills.   The Temple, declared at times to be the Elysian Palace, glittered with gold and silver and was embellished by Oriental drapes, crystal chandeliers, and paintings of medieval knights.  It is said that even the Prince of Wales came for visits.

James Graham soon gave up electricity, embracing the healing virtues of mud bathing, in cheaper accommodations off Pall Mall.  Amy left the Temple and accepted a position in Madam Kelly’s.   A chance meeting with Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh propelled Amy into the world of the aristocracy. She was 15.

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” 
 Joseph Conrad

43 Comments

  1. renxkyoko says:

    She must have been quite beautiful !

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    1. Clanmother says:

      She was! She was also very intelligent, compassionate and charismatic. Thanks so much for joining the dialogue! 🙂

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  2. Love the Joseph Conrad quote and ain’t it the truth… 😉

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    1. Clanmother says:

      He had a way with words! And was very perceptive, much to my delight. 🙂

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  3. Gallivanta says:

    Goodness, how young, and yet so able to make her own way in the world.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Poverty and want is the hardest on the young. Some have more resilience than others, physically and mentally. Emma Hamilton had a good amount of resilience.

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  4. arjun bagga says:

    Weak minds often turn violent, which makes it a terrible difficult task to deal with.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Very well said….we are creatures of flight or fight. It takes courage to seek peaceful solutions. As you say it is a “difficult task.”

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      1. arjun bagga says:

        “Creatures of flight or fight” Beautiful and apt. I’ll remember your words!

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you so much for your presence!!! 🙂

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  5. billgncs says:

    I suspect whoever painted that portrait saw her through a lover’s eyes.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      You are very, very perceptive. Stay tuned….

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      1. billgncs says:

        very very young and sensual…..
        maybe painted from knowledge ?

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Wait and see…:)

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      3. billgncs says:

        If I was a young painter, or an old painter for that matter, how could one resist? I look forward to the next part.

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      4. Clanmother says:

        So glad that you are part of this dialogue!!! 🙂

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      5. billgncs says:

        me too – it’s fun and interesting.

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  6. Dina says:

    Timing and luck, two good things. Willpower, action and a clear goal is also helpful! 🙂
    Lovely post, very enjoyable reading, Rebecca!
    L♥ve
    Dina

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    1. Clanmother says:

      You are so very right. It seems that the windows of opportunity can only be realized through action that comes from focused resolve and willpower. Timing and luck are fleeting companions. Hugs going back across the globe…have a great day!!!

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  7. Hello Rebecca, as all us local Cheshire born folk, she sounds like she never gave in even when her dream look like they were running faster than herself.

    Amy Lyon, its a name I remember from the past – I had some friends from Ness and she is well known and remembered locally 🙂

    Great post Rebecca 🙂 thank you

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    1. Clanmother says:

      This is most exciting news!! The more I read about Lady Hamilton’s influence,the more I wonder how I missed this narrative in history class. She never gave in, not even to the very last. I have never been in your neighborhood – must visit. On my bucket list.

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      1. You would have a great time Rebecca and be very welcome! 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂

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  8. 67paintings says:

    mud baths? sounds like an interesting bloke.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      James Graham was remarkable!!! He has been dismissed as a quack over the centuries, but recently, in the light of our advanced knowledge on nutrician, has been seen as offering good advice. According to my reading, he recommended a wheat-free diet for those suffering stomach ailments. He was the toast of London. Thank you for stopping by…

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  9. Very interesting! 🙂 Those men with their cure alls – snake oil even, I think still exist today, but their business is largely through the internet now! Not much comes to an end but a lot transforms into what appears to be different! 😉

    I’ve been to The Theatre Royal Drury Lane when I was 19, on a very magical date! I found out in recent years my date was not the man he said was, but actually a very talented pianist – bit of a shock! 😯 But that theatre is very memorable, beautiful, and very old indeed! It’s supposed to have many ghosts – maybe Emma is one of those – or maybe it’s just fantasy! 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I am certain that she is! If only we were able to capture all of the stories that occurred within those walls of the theatre. What an adventure you had! Another story to add to the memories of those walls. Thank you for sharing!!!

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  10. haha, Joseph Conrad is so very correct, oh, poor women on earth …. indeed.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I knew that you would like that quote! So glad that you are here!!! 🙂

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      1. you made me laugh out loud, well, I suppose women should accept the challenge to deal with the plentiful men on earth, each of them is so very special (if not peculiar), I hope you don’t have too many male blogger-friends (oups) who may read my horrible remark.

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      2. Clanmother says:

        We are always up for a challenge.

        “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.”
        ― Robert Frost

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  11. Ed Spadoni says:

    Timing IS everything, and I would add that Place factors in as well. A beauty for certain.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      You are so right!!! There is a coming together of so many factors as to say it cannot be coincidence. We are all attracted to and by beauty – but time and place and people seem to generate the outcomes…well said.

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  12. mixedupmeme says:

    I googled more about this woman. I read that she “is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney”

    I have to say that I did not remember that because I don’t remember ever hearing about Amy Lyon. 😦

    How boring life would be if I knew everything. 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I don’t know how I missed this story. It wasn’t in any of the history classes that covered Trafalgar. I didn’t know anything about Lady Hamilton until my hairdresser told me about Naples. Stay tuned…

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  13. cindy knoke says:

    She is a remarkable woman isn’t she, and her story wouldn’t be believed if it were fiction. This will be a fun series.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. Her life was filled with drama, from beginning to end…

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  14. Ms Frances says:

    Very, very interesting dialogue. Am waiting for the next installment. Way to go, Rebecca.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!!! I am so glad that you are joining the dialogue. This is a big story!!

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  15. Ms Frances says:

    We all know about Lady Hamilton–but she wasn’t always Lady Hamilton. What a story.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I am so glad that you are enjoying it!!!

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  16. Fascinating journey for a fascinating woman. Saw this post on fb and clicked. 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      So glad that you joined the dialogue. I am fascinated by women who create a different vision for their lives. It is so easy to conform rather than transform. 🙂

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