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A spotlight on outstanding women artists and their works in the Royal Collection

Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828)

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

RCIN 20743

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Anne Seymour Damer was 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 her husband’s suicide, however, she began to work in terracotta, marble and bronze, encouraged by her godfather Horace Walpole. She studied marble carving with John Bacon and, under the tutelage of William Cumberland Cruikshank, took anatomy lessons, a subject usually forbidden for women. Many of her works were inscribed in Greek, underlining her scholarship and her interest in antiquity.

Damer met Nelson while in Naples in 1798 and went on to produce several versions of the portrait bust she modelled of him, including one which she presented to Napoleon. This bronze version was commissioned by William, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) in 1827.