Mobile menu
Welcome back to the royal residences. Find out more about our measures to keep you safe.
Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828)

Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) 1827

Bronze | 81.0 x 50.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 20743

Your share link is...

  Close

  • A bronze bust of Nelson, wearing naval uniform, with the stars of the Order of the Bath, the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, and of the Order of St Joachim, with medals commemorating the Battles of St Vincent and the Nile; on a square base with inscription.

    The bust is the work of the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer, after a bronzed plaster version she had given to William IV when Duke of Clarence. It depicts Nelson in uniform wearing the Star of the Order of the Bath, the highest military English insignia which he had received from George III in 1797. According to Percy Noble's biography of the sculptor, 'Anne Seymour Damer. Art and fashion, 1748 to 1828', Nelson sat for Damer in 1798 during his stay in Naples where he was recovering from injuries suffered at the Battle of the Nile. Damer produced a number of versions of the bust, including a plaster version which was presented to Napoleon in 1802 and a marble produced in 1803 and now in the Guildhall, London. The Duke of Clarence, who had had a naval career himself, ordered this second work in bronze when he was appointed Lord High Admiral in 1827.

    Anne Seymour Damer was the goddaughter of Horace Walpole, and an accomplished actor, writer and sculptor. Her early sculptures were produced in the form of waxes, considered appropriate for both her sex and social standing. Following the suicide of her husband, John Damer, however, she began to work in terracotta, marble and bronze, encouraged by Walpole. She studied marble carving with John Bacon and took anatomy lessons, which might otherwise have been precluded to her as a woman, from William Cumberland Cruikshank. Many of her works were inscribed in Greek, underlining her scholarship and her interest in antiquity. She became a frequent traveller to continental Europe, visiting Sir William Hamilton in Naples in 1798, where she met Nelson and created the first portrait of him.



    Provenance

    The bust was delivered to the Duke of Clarence on 29 May 1828, only a few days before Anne Seymour-Damer's death, who was then 78.

    The plinth is inscribed: TO / HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF CLARENCE / LORD HIGH ADMIRAL OF ENGLAND / THIS BUST EXECUTED BY HERSELF / IS RESPECTFULLY PRESENTED / BY / THE HONOURABLE ANNE SEYMOUR DAMER / MDCCCXXVII

  • Medium and techniques

    Bronze

    Measurements

    81.0 x 50.5 cm (whole object)

  • Category
  • Alternative title(s)

    Lord Nelson (1758-1805)

    Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805)