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Anne Seymour Damer: a sculptor of ‘republican perfection’

Yarrington, Alison


Alison Yarrington


Elizabeth Eger


© Cambridge University Press 2013. The attainments of Anne Seymour Damer as artist, author and student of classical antiquity secure her place in this company of brilliant women. Although during her lifetime she was not directly referred to as a ‘bluestocking’, she operated within a network of friendship and acquaintance in her pursuit of arts and letters in ways that linked her with other like-minded women across Europe. One indicator of this intellectual alignment was her sustained study of the art, languages and philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome. Evidence of this is scattered in her correspondence and that of others; for example her kinsman, Horace Walpole, writing to their mutual friend Mary Berry commented, ‘they say, Madam, you speak Latin as well as Madam Damer the great statue woman’. To obtain public recognition as a sculptor, to be ‘the great statue woman’, was Damer’s primary ambition and one that she pursued tenaciously, participating in the annual Royal Academy exhibitions and creating works for public settings. Her remarkable career, spanning four decades, was sustained throughout by a reserve and strength of character often noted by close friends and acquaintances. However, it was her apparent innate deviant sexuality and erratic enthusiasms, not least her involvement with Foxite politics and the theatre, that became the focus of public attention in the years immediately before and following her husband’s suicide in 1776, that shaped her lasting reputation. In brilliance, judged from this public perspective, she could be said to be more diamanté than diamond.


Yarrington, A. (2014). Anne Seymour Damer: a sculptor of ‘republican perfection’. In E. Eger (Ed.), Bluestockings Displayed: Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730-1830 (81-99). Cambridge University Press (CUP).

Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2014
Journal Bluestockings displayed: portraiture, performance and patronage, 1730–1830
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 81-99
Book Title Bluestockings Displayed: Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730-1830
ISBN 9780511667428
Public URL

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