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 Anne Seymour Damer  (1749 - 1828)

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: neo-classic portrait bust sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Profile portrait of Lord William Campbell, Governor of South Carolina, 1775
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.


Born to the British aristocracy, Anne Seymour Damer was an accomplished neo-classicist sculptor whose rank and wealth afforded her career both advantage and detraction.  Having shown an early inclination for art, she received formal training abroad from the Italian master Giuseppe Ceracchi and in England from sculptor John Bacon the Elder. It was, however, in the wake of her troubled marriage to John Damer, the dilettante son of Lord Milton, and his subsequent suicide that she immersed herself in her work.

Best known for her portrait busts and animal sculptures in stone and marble, her grand-scale masks of the mythological characters Isis and Thame can be found on the keystones of the Henley-on-Thames Bridge in Oxford.  From 1784 to 1818, she exhibited regularly at London’s Royal Academy under the status of “Visitor.” Her work is held today in the collections of the Tate Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Courtauld Institute of art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

An amateur actress and writer who travelled widely in society, Damer led a life of some celebrity.  Following her husband and parents’ deaths, she came under the guardianship of her cousin, Horace Walpole, the Whig politician and noted man of letters. Walpole was an enthusiastic advocate of his kinswoman’s art, writing that she had “chosen a walk more difficult and far more uncommon than painting. . . . Mrs. Damer’s busts from the life are not inferior to the antique; and theirs, we are sure, were not more like.” Upon his death, Damer was left a life tenancy in Walpole’s famous estate, Strawberry Hill.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

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