One of the things I like about Horace Walpole, (1717 1797), 4th Earl of Orford, was his friendships with and support of women artists.
Thanks to the Strawberry Hill exhibition, I discovered the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer (and was able to place in context a caricature I’d stumbled on (above left--I’ve filed it under Misogyny, 18th C). Modern online biographical material is skimpy, but here's an early 20th C bio. The Anthony & Cleopatra scene at right is by Damer--who might not have embarked on an artistic career at all if Walpole hadn't so extravagantly praised her early efforts. He saw something no one else did.
Another discovery was Lady Diana Beauclerk. (After her divorce from Lord Bolingbroke, she married a great-grandson of King Charles II.) She created the beautiful inlaid drawings on a magnificent ebony cabinet I swooned over. Here’s the bodkin case that was in the show.
Among the items sold at the 1842 auction of Strawberry Hill were the following:
From Lady Diana Beauclerk's Closet were also sold—A copy of The Mysterious Mother, with manuscript notes by the Author. 4l. 10s.; and a Portrait of Lady Diana Beauclerk, by Powell. 81. ISs. 6d.—Both bought by the same party.
Gipsies telling a country girl her fortune, a drawing by Lady Diana Beauclerk, and considered her chef d'oeuvre. 22d Day, Lot 101. 6J. 10». Gage.
A Masquerade Scene, by Lady Diana Beauclerk, and a Landscape by the Rev. Mr. Gilpin, 1782. 17th Day, Lot 35. 31. 15». Cain, for Col. the Hon. Dawson Darner, M.P.
In other words, women artists' work was prominently on display at Strawberry Hill. In a historical world I often find infuriatingly misogynistic, it was a joy to find Horace Walpole.