A Public Sculpture of the legendary Regency Lesbian Miss Anne Lister AKA 'Gentleman Jack'
I am currently making a small scale model, (maquette), of Regency Lesbian Miss Anne Lister, (nick named 'Gentleman Jack' by disproving locals in her time), and thanks to Covid19, I have been doing so from my kitchen table. You can see how it is going here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-IIV_Xhuvs This is to present, cast in life like, full colour, patinated foundry bronze, to the University York and the York City Council in the autumn of 2021, for their consideration as to placing a life sized public statue in the city of York, UK.
This project has the support of the York LGBT Forum, the York LGB History Month, the National LGB History Month, the York Civic Trust, The York City Council Equalities and Communities Department, the Gender Equalities Department of the University of York and the Archaeology and Women's Studies Departments of the University of York.
This project also has the support of 10,000+ people worldwide who signed my petition that it was time this amazing lesbian pioneer was properly honoured in the form of a public statue.
In 2016, of the 925 statues recorded only 158 statues in the UK national database of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association are women. Of these 158, almost half are allegorical figures, 14 are of the Virgin Mary and 46 are of royalty. That leaves only 25 statues of historical, non-royal women in the UK. With only 3% of public statues being of named women in the UK, so far we have not one public sculpture of an out and named modern lesbian. Given lesbian women's contribution to British culture, arts, sports, politics and social sciences this lack of balance, and lack of visibility and recognition, needs to be urgently addressed.
As a former tutor of Lesbian History I am aware of dozens of remarkable ground breaking historical lesbians who should be honoured, but I believe the first truly out modern lesbian, Miss Anne Lister, should be the first to be recognised in this way.
I shall share the development of this maquette and hopefully the future life sized statue on this page. The maquette is progressing well, and my main task is to finish making the mini Anne Lister and have her cast in patinated foundry bronze, to show to the York City Council and the University of York for their approval. If you'd like to help this project, you can make a donation of any size through my Go Fund Me here or via PayPal
If you would like to buy one of the finished limited edition maquettes of Anne Lister in the summer of 2021, I am taking pre-orders now. The finished maquette will cost approximately £2,200 and measures 30cm x 20cm x 25cm. The early parts of the edition are the most collectable and will be given on a first come first served basis. 50% up front (£1,100) secures your number of the edition. You can enquire about purchasing a limited edition here. The 1st of the edition is already spoken for!
I'm currently working on Anne Lister's face, and making it smaller, as well as her coat flaps, having just completed her French Pyrenean base. Eventually she will be polished and smooth all over prior to having a mould made and casting in bronze, using the lost wax process. Then she will be patinated in life like colours, with the black of the clothing contrasting with the white of the glacier D'ossoue which she is striding over.
Her base encompasses both cursive writing and her own secret code which she called Crypt Hand, in raised lettering travelling along the highest peaks of the French Pyrenees. Anne Lister was the first person to officially climb the highest peak of all, Vignemale, which she achieved whilst wearing skirts with crampons! The outside edge of her base running anti clockwise from Vignemale gives a most beautiful piece of coded writing from her diaries which reads "I love and only love the fairer sex and thus beloved by them in turn my heart revolts from any other love than theirs" This is done with both cursive and crypt hand and I'm hoping that giving the viewer approximately 1/3rd of her code, will intrigue them enough to try translating parts of her diary themselves; it is quite addictive!
The inside edge of her base has a list of her achievements written on them reading: "Anne Lister 1791 - 1840 Lesbian, Diarist, Scholar, Code Maker, Landowner, Polyglot, Intrepid Traveller, Hill walker, Mountaineer" This is also in raised lettering which shall be polished at the foundry to a bright bronze shine, in contrast to the grey and white patination of the glacier and mountains she will be striding over.
I gave a talk at LFest in North Wales on the 21st July 2019 all about this project and the challenges it brings in terms of research. I managed to capture most of it on video which you can see part 1 Here part 2 Here part 3 Here and part 4 Here Please do 'Like' and share them with friends who have enjoyed Gentleman Jack.
A good overview of the life of Anne Lister can be found here and much more in depth information from Author and Anne Lister Scholar Helena Whitbread can be found here. I particularly recommend Helena's two books on Anne Lister.
More images to follow as this project progresses......
You can see the full 215 comments from people from all across the world who want to see this sculpture happen, using the screamingly pink button below: