An undated, two-page letter handwritten by Anne Seymour Damer at her London house, No. 27 Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, to Mrs. Alexander Baillie (Marianne Baillie, née Wathen, 1788-1831). Presumably written at the end of Damer’s life as it concerns the new edition of her novel Belmour, which was published in 1827: "There is, as perhaps you may have seen in the Papers, a new Edition of my Novel, of which you will much flatter me by accepting a copy." The letter measures 4 3/8” x 7 1/4" and appears to have been trimmed, with evidence of removal from a scrapbook or bound volume along the left margin of the front panel and a clipping from the cover with the handwritten address of Mrs. Baillie affixed to the rear panel.
Influenced by the Enlightenment movement, Anne Damer, née Conway, was an eighteenth-century polymath, described as a "female genius" by Horace Walpole. After a failed marriage, her father’s secretary, the philosopher David Hume, is thought to have inspired her to pursue a career as a sculptress at a time when few women did so. She was trained by Giuseppe Ceracchi and John Bacon, and exhibited regularly at The Royal Academy from 1784 to 1818. Among her best-known subjects are Lord Admiral Nelson and King George III. Ceracchi cast her as the Muse of Sculpture in a full-length statue that graced the entrance of the British Museum for more than one hundred years. While immersing herself in sculpture, Damer also moved in Georgian literary and theatrical circles, where her friends included the poet and dramatist Joanne Baillie, the author Mary Berry, and actors Sarah Siddons and Elizabeth Farren, with whom she is thought to have shared an intimate relationship.
First published in 1801, Belmour chronicles the tangled romances of a group of eighteenth-century English aristocrats. The plot centers on Lord Belmour’s pursuit of the lovely and slightly mysterious Emily Melville. The charismatic Belmour, a man of great feeling and quick perception, goes to great lengths to gain the affection of Emily, only to learn that she has recently married another man. Although crushed, Belmour tries to develop a friendship with the couple, but his heartache drives him to depart on an extensive journey through Europe. During these travels, the lives of Belmour and Emily unfold, though fate ultimately leads the two to cross paths once more. Set among such vivid backdrops as Paris, Venice, and Rome, Damer’s only novel casts an equally critical eye on the foibles of the aristocracy, while offering a similarly romanticized portrait of romantic love in the age of sensibility. Item #73206