Featured Wax Portrait of Lord William Campbell(?) after Anne Seymour Damer (??)

Discussion in 'Art' started by mirana, Apr 2, 2024.

  1. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I think wax portraits are really interesting, so when I saw this mis-identified one come up for very little I decided to get it. I consider it a "cameo adjacent" work to go with my growing cameo collection.

    Forgive him his world-worn condition, as I do. :bag::p

    Lord William Campbell Wax 1 A.jpg

    The dark areas are the bits of fabric fibers that have relocated during the years.

    Lord William Campbell Wax 1 B.jpg

    Lens brought up this painted version, naming it as Lord William Campbell, apparently sculpted by his wildly interesting and multi-talented niece Anne Seymour Damer. I don't know if that is accurate because all I can find is the auction and the facebook post referencing it. There aren't that many portraits of him either, and they have a shorter wig.
    Lord William Campbell by niece Anne Seymour Damer.jpg

    Lord Campbell was the ill-fated Governor of Charleston who got run out of town in 1775, came back with His Majesty's ships, and was wounded for his efforts to get the colony to settle down. :smuggrin: He died in 1780. Anne was a sculptor, painter, and writer having many interests so a wax portrait (a medium she was familiar with) is believable. She was once captured by pirates and released unharmed, so I guess she often did the unbelievable anyway.

    I do not expect mine is by his famous niece, but oddly I can't find any others. I'm also not aware of him being much of a national hero (or martyr?) to drum up many sales, but could believe it.

    Now...given his death date, do we suspect this was made close to then? Or later in early 19th century? Or even deeper into 19th?

    Lord William Campbell Wax 1 D.jpg

    Screw-eye and split ring hanger. A very loosely weaved (handmade?) paper backing over an animal-glued seamed shadowbox (I could peek into a brittle hole in the paper).

    Lord William Campbell Wax 1 E.jpg

    Hand made nails (?) and a gesso-on-wood finish. Bubbles in the glass.

    I'm still trying to dig up more info, but in the meantime... What do y'all think for date? Do we think this is His Lordship (that wig is suspect...), or someone else? If so, is making lesser unpainted cast(?) waxes a regular thing, so it might have a similar source? I bought it cheaply on an uninformed whim so...totally new to this type of thing. :D Thanks y'all!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2024
  2. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    I can live with that.:playful: I think he is wonderful.:)
    We all get a bit world-worn with age. I know I do, so who am I to judge.:D
    This may help with the terminology:
    http://npshistory.com/publications/nail-chronology.pdf
     
  3. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Since they were one of the main products of the Tassie workshops, very adjacent indeed. I have imagined that the wax ones were sometimes retained & framed by customers who did not want to go on to the expense of having an 'enamel' version made from the wax.

    I have a piece, the bust of a fancy lady in pale pink, that was sold as wax, but looking at it once again just now, I'm still convinced it is stone. It is in a shadowbox frame very like the little frames used in Tassie's day, but has the Milwaukee framer's label on the back.
     
  4. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I'm never sure what someone will consider a cameo, or a relief or something else entirely... but I think the essence is the same, as least for a broad collector. I'm interested in different materials and having an example of each, so this fit!

    Mentioning Tassie, I've managed to find an additional 3 unpainted that have the same mount fabric texture, frame shape, and hanging fixture that were listed by their sellers as by/after Tassie. One claims it's signed (though it's hard to tell). Mine has no conclusive marks (and Tassie was a prolific signer, of course), but also no hefty shoulder to mark on. Seller's opinions aren't conclusive of course. Gonna have to keep scrolling museum holdings I think...


    Thank you! :happy: I have gone looking at sooo many nail references while researching some of my furniture, but I don't think I saw that one.
     
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