Enfilade

Exhibition | Anne Seymour Damer: Sculpture and Society

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 26, 2014

Now on view at Strawberry Hill:

Anne Seymour Damer: Sculpture and Society
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham (London), 11 August — 9 November 2014

Shock-Dog-Teracotta-1780-Anne-Damar

Anne Seymour Damer, Shock Dog, 1780

Anne Damer was the daughter of Horace Walpole’s favourite cousin, Henry Seymour Conway. Born into a life of luxury in 1748, Anne was subjected to an arranged marriage in 1767 to John Damer, a man she neither knew or liked. Her husband’s bankruptcy and subsequent suicide led her to turn to a different life as a sculpture. In marble, terracotta or bronze, Anne Damer modelled friends, family and their animals, and also political heroes, including Admiral Nelson. Anne Damer’s art provides a wealth of insight into nineteenthcentury British sculpture, including the negative reactions towards the work of a woman. Living through the turbulent times, Anne Damer mixed sculpture with acting, writing and travel. Many of her friends included leading members of the political, arts and theatre world and with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire she became known as one of the fashionable set of ladies of London.

halloween The 3 Witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth Daniel Gardner 1775 Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire,Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne sculptor Anne Seymour Damer

Daniel Gardner, The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer), 1775 (London, National Portrait Gallery).

Horace Walpole played a significant role in Anne Damer’s life as he was her godfather and encouraged her interest in sculpture. Indeed, she developed a triangular friendship with her godfather and his protégée, Mary Berry. Horace’s affection for Anne Damer was shown in the bequest of his house to her, enabling her to live and work at Strawberry Hill until 1811. Her studio was part of Walpole’s printing house, part of which still survives today.

For the first time, Anne Damer’s life and work will be formally shown to the general public at Strawberry Hill. The exhibition, which is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and Rainer Zietz, will showcase some of her sculptures, many from private collections and her anatomy drawing book, personal objects and a rare set of her prompt copies of plays performed at Richmond House and Strawberry Hill. The painting of The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner will also be displayed courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Michael Snodin, Chairman of the Trustees of Strawberry Hill Trust said, “Anne Seymour Damer: Sculpture and Society is one of a series of exhibitions on subjects related to Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill. Anne Damer was a leading light for women of her generation and with the current interest in Georgian England, her life and work will interest many visitors to Strawberry Hill.”

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