Plaster Portrait Bust of Lord Nelson after Anne Seymour Damer, England, 1802
This bust of Admiral Lord Nelson was probably produced by Bartholomew Papera after the 1798 marble bust by Anne Seymour Damer. The reverse is impressed, ‘Anna S. Damer Fecit’ and ‘Pub. As the Act Dir’. Incomplete paper label on the integral black base. English, circa 1802. The Hon. Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828) was a sculptor and author who later inherited Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole’s famed Gothic villa in Twickenham. A friend of Sir William and Lady Hamilton, she probably met Nelson in Naples in 1798, afterwards offering a bust of the Hero to the City of London. On his return to London in 1800, Nelson gave Damer a sitting during which he presented her with his uniform coat worn at the Battle of the Nile. Although Damer’s monumental bust in marble was only delivered to the City in 1803, artist authorised copies in plaster, probably by the plaster figure maker Bartholomew Papera (c.1749-1815), were already circulating. Damer presented Napoleon Bonaparte in person with an example in plaster on her visit to Paris in 1802, whilst another reached the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The Wedgwood factory purchased a plaster copy of Damer’s bust from Papera in 1802 (for 12 shillings), possibly for an unrealised scheme to reproduce it in basalt pottery as a companion to their popular portrait medallion of Nelson.
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