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Anne Seymour Damer

Anne Seymour Damer

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Anne Seymour Damer, née Conway, (8 November 1748, Sevenoaks
Sevenoaks
Sevenoaks is a commuter town situated on the London fringe of west Kent, England, some 20 miles south-east of Charing Cross, on one of the principal commuter rail lines from the capital...

 – 28 May 1828, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 sculptor.

Life


Anne Conway was born into an aristocratic
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

 Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 family, the only daughter of Field-Marshal Henry Seymour Conway
Henry Seymour Conway
Field Marshal Henry Seymour Conway was a British general and statesman. A brother of the 1st Marquess of Hertford, and cousin of Horace Walpole, he began his military career in the War of the Austrian Succession and eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshal .-Family and education:Conway was...

 (1721–1795) and his wife Caroline Bruce, born Campbell, Lady Ailesbury (1721–1803), and was brought up at the family home at Park Place, Remenham
Remenham
Remenham is a village and civil parish on the Berkshire bank of the River Thames near Henley-on-Thames in southern England.-Rowing:The parish covers the starting point of the Henley Royal Regatta course. Remenham Club is a private members club for rowers, with a good view of the river halfway along...

, Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

.

In 1767 she married John Damer, the son of Lord Milton, later the 1st Earl of Dorchester
Joseph Damer, 1st Earl of Dorchester
Joseph Damer, 1st Earl of Dorchester was a wealthy landowner particularly associated with the reshaping of Milton Abbey and the creation of the village of Milton Abbas in Dorset, south-west England....

. The couple received an income of £5,000 from Lord Milton, and were left large fortunes by Milton and Henry Conway. They separated after seven years, and he committed suicide in 1776, leaving considerable debts. Her artistic career developed during her widowhood.

Damer was a frequent visitor to Europe. During one voyage she was captured by a privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

, but released unharmed in Jersey
Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

. She visited Sir Horace Mann in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, and Sir William Hamilton
William Hamilton (diplomat)
Sir William Hamilton KB, PC, FRS was a Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist. After a short period as a Member of Parliament, he served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800...

 in Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, where she was introduced to Lord Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

. In 1802, while the Treaty of Amiens
Treaty of Amiens
The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between the French Republic and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 , by Joseph Bonaparte and the Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace"...

 was in effect, she visited Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 with the author Mary Berry
Mary Berry (writer)
Mary Berry was an English author, born at Kirkbridge, North Yorkshire.-Walpole:She and her sister Agnes had a remarkable association with Horace Walpole...

 and was granted an audience with Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

.

From 1818, Anne Damer lived at York House, Twickenham
York House, Twickenham
York House is an historic stately home in Twickenham, England, and currently serves as the Town Hall of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames...

. She died in 1828 at her London house in Grosvenor Square, and is buried in the church at Sundridge
Sundridge, Kent
Sundridge is a village within the civil parish of Sundridge with Ide Hill, in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. The village is located on the A25 road to the east of WesterhamIts church is dedicated to St Mary....

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, along with her sculptor's tools and apron and the ashes of her favourite dog.

Works



The development of Anne Seymour Damer's interest in sculpture is credited to her father's secretary, David Hume, and to the encouragement of Horace Walpole, who was her guardian during her parent's frequent trips abroad. According to Walpole, her training included lessons in modelling from Giuseppe Ceracchi
Giuseppe Ceracchi
Giuseppe Ceracchi was an Italian sculptor, active in a Neoclassic style in Italy, England and the nascent United States, who was a passionate republican during the American and French revolutions...

, in marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 carving from John Bacon
John Bacon
John Bacon was a British sculptor.Born in Southwark, he was the son of a cloth worker from Somerset. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a manufacturer of porcelain at Lambeth, where he was at first employed in painting the small ornamental pieces of china, but was promoted to modeller...

, and in anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 from William Cumberland Cruikshank
William Cumberland Cruikshank
William Cumberland Cruikshank was a British chemist and anatomist. He was the author of The Anatomy of the Absorbing Vessels of the Human Body, which was first published in 1786....

.

During the period 1784–1818, Damer exhibited 32 works as an honorary exhibitor at the Royal Academy
Royal Academy
The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and...

. Her work, primarily bust
Bust (sculpture)
A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, as well as a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. These forms recreate the likeness of an individual...

s in Neoclassical style, developed from early wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

 sculptures to technically complex ones in works in terracotta, bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

, and marble. Her subjects, largely drawn from friends and colleagues in Whig circles, included Lady Melbourne
Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne
Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne was an English political hostess and the wife of Whig politician Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne. She was the mother of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...

, Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

, Joseph Banks
Joseph Banks
Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. He took part in Captain James Cook's first great voyage . Banks is credited with the introduction to the Western world of eucalyptus, acacia, mimosa and the genus named after him,...

, George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

, Mary Berry
Mary Berry (writer)
Mary Berry was an English author, born at Kirkbridge, North Yorkshire.-Walpole:She and her sister Agnes had a remarkable association with Horace Walpole...

, Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 and herself. She executed several actors' portraits, such as the busts of her friends Sarah Siddons
Sarah Siddons
Sarah Siddons was a Welsh actress, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century. She was the elder sister of John Philip Kemble, Charles Kemble, Stephen Kemble, Ann Hatton and Elizabeth Whitlock, and the aunt of Fanny Kemble. She was most famous for her portrayal of the Shakespearean character,...

 and Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren was an English actress of the late 18th century.-Early life:Elizabeth Farren was the daughter of George Farren of Cork, Ireland, formerly a surgeon and apothecary, then later an actor, and his wife of Liverpool, Lancashire, the daughter of a publican or brewer.At a very early age...

 (as the Muse
Muse
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths...

s Melpomene
Melpomene
Melpomene , initially the Muse of Singing, she then became the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known now. Her name was derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning "to celebrate with dance and song." She is often represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus, boots...

and Thalia).

She produced keystone sculptures of Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 and Tamesis
Tamesis
Tamesis was the ancient name for the River Thames.Sculptures entitled Tamesis and Isis by Anne Seymour Damer can be found on the bridge at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. The original terracotta and plaster models were exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 1785. They are now on show at the...

 for each side of the central arch on the bridge
Henley Bridge
Henley Bridge is a five-elliptical-arched stone road bridge built in 1786 at Henley-on-Thames over the River Thames, between Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The bridge links Hart Street in Henley with White Hill leading up a steep hill to Remenham Hill...

 at Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire, England, about 10 miles downstream and north-east from Reading, 10 miles upstream and west from Maidenhead...

. The original models are in the Henley Gallery of the River and Rowing Museum
River and Rowing Museum
The River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, is located on a site at Mill Meadows by the River Thames. It has three main themes represented by major permanent galleries, the non-tidal River Thames, the international sport of rowing and the local town of...

 nearby. Another major architectural work was her 10-foot statue of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, now destroyed, for the frontage of Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

 theatre. She also created two bas reliefs for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery
Boydell Shakespeare Gallery
The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery in London, England, was the first stage of a three-part project initiated in November 1786 by engraver and publisher John Boydell in an effort to foster a school of British history painting...

 of scenes from Coriolanus
Coriolanus (play)
Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.-Characters:*Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus...

and Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

.

Damer was also a writer, with one published novel, Belmour (first published on 1801).

Personal life



Damer's friends included a number of influential Whigs and aristocrats. Her guardian and friend Horace Walpole was a significant figure, who helped foster her career and on his death left her his London villa, Strawberry Hill
Strawberry Hill House
Strawberry Hill is the Gothic Revival villa of Horace Walpole which he built in the second half of the 18th century in what is now an affluent area of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in Twickenham, London...

. She also moved in literary and theatrical circles, where her friends included the poet and dramatist Joanna Baillie
Joanna Baillie
Joanna Baillie was a Scottish poet and dramatist. Baillie was very well known during her lifetime and, though a woman, intended her plays not for the closet but for the stage. Admired both for her literary powers and her sweetness of disposition, she hosted a brilliant literary society in her...

, the author Mary Berry
Mary Berry (writer)
Mary Berry was an English author, born at Kirkbridge, North Yorkshire.-Walpole:She and her sister Agnes had a remarkable association with Horace Walpole...

, and the actors Sarah Siddons
Sarah Siddons
Sarah Siddons was a Welsh actress, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century. She was the elder sister of John Philip Kemble, Charles Kemble, Stephen Kemble, Ann Hatton and Elizabeth Whitlock, and the aunt of Fanny Kemble. She was most famous for her portrayal of the Shakespearean character,...

 and Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren was an English actress of the late 18th century.-Early life:Elizabeth Farren was the daughter of George Farren of Cork, Ireland, formerly a surgeon and apothecary, then later an actor, and his wife of Liverpool, Lancashire, the daughter of a publican or brewer.At a very early age...

. She frequently took part in masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

s at the Pantheon
Pantheon, London
The Pantheon, was a place of public entertainment on the south side of Oxford Street, London, England. It was designed by James Wyatt and opened in 1772. The main rotunda was one of the largest rooms built in England up to that time and had a central dome somewhat reminiscent of the celebrated...

 and amateur theatricals at the London residence of the Duke of Richmond
Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond
Field Marshal Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 3rd Duke of Lennox, 3rd Duke of Aubigny, KG, PC, FRS , styled Earl of March until 1750, was a British politician and office holder noteworthy for his advanced views on the issue of parliamentary reform...

, who was married to her half-sister.

A number of sources have named Damer as being involved in lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

 relationships, particularly relating to her close friendship with Mary Berry, to whom she had been introduced by Walpole in 1789. Even during her marriage, her likings for male clothing and demonstrative friendships with other women were publicly noted and satirised by hostile commentators such as Hester Thrale
Hester Thrale
Hester Lynch Thrale was a British diarist, author, and patron of the arts. Her diaries and correspondence are an important source of information about Samuel Johnson and 18th-century life.-Biography:Thrale was born at Bodvel Hall, Caernarvonshire, Wales...

 and in the anonymous pamphlet A Sapphick Epistle from Jack Cavendish to the Honourable and most Beautiful, Mrs D— (c.1770).

A romance between Damer and Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren
Elizabeth Farren was an English actress of the late 18th century.-Early life:Elizabeth Farren was the daughter of George Farren of Cork, Ireland, formerly a surgeon and apothecary, then later an actor, and his wife of Liverpool, Lancashire, the daughter of a publican or brewer.At a very early age...

, who was mentioned by Thrale, is the central storyline in the 2004 novel Life Mask by Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born playwright, literary historian and novelist now living in Canada. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and an international bestseller. Donoghue's 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award and Slammerkin won the Ferro-Grumley Award for...

.

External links



  • Artcyclopedia information including links to artworks
  • Artworks in the National Portrait Gallery, London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  • Artwork in Tate
    Tate
    -Places:*Tate, Georgia, a town in the United States*Tate County, Mississippi, a county in the United States*Táté, the Hungarian name for Totoi village, Sântimbru Commune, Alba County, Romania*Tate, Filipino word for States...

    , London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  • WWAR information
  • A&A art and architecture images including a marble sculpture self portrait from the Courtauld Institute of Art
    Courtauld Institute of Art
    The Courtauld Institute of Art is a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art. The Courtauld is one of the premier centres for the teaching of art history in the world; it was the only History of Art department in the UK to be awarded a top...

  • The Twickenham Museum