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), with a choice of two bases, one very interactive when full sized and one less so. These are to present, cast in life like full colour, patinated foundry bronze, to the Arts Committee of the University of York in early 2020, for their consideration as to placing a life sized public statue at King's Manor 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 Department of the University of York based at King's Manor.
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 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 her two bases, and have them cast in patinated foundry bronze to show to the Arts Committee at 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
All donations will go towards getting these two maquettes cast, to secure the approval of the University of York's Arts Committee, to display this public sculpture at the site of Anne Lister's school, in the beautiful setting of King's Manor.
If you would like to buy one of the finished limited edition maquettes of Anne Lister in the spring of 2020, on the smaller base as illustrated, I am taking pre-orders now. The finished maquette will cost £2,150 and measures 25cm x 20cm x 13cm, (10" x 8" x 5"). The early parts of the edition are the most collectable and will be given on a first come first served basis. 50% up front (£1,075) secures your number of the edition. Much of the money made from the sales of the Anne Lister maquettes will go towards the cost of making the life sized version. You can enquire about purchasing a limited edition here.
I'm currently working on Anne Lister's skirts requiring her to have to stand on her head while I refine the shape and smoothness of the folds. This is also a strain on her arms which is why one is bent where it shouldn't be and another has been temporarily removed for it's own safety. Eventually she will be polished and smooth all over prior to having a mould made and casting in bronze, using the lost wax process.
I also have to hand write a quote from her diaries, both in her own secret code which she called Crypt Hand and in as close to her style of longhand writing as I can get. Then this will need to be scanned into a computer and the two bases 3D scanned, to enable the quote to be 3D printed as raised polished bronze lettering for the front of the two bases. The 3D print will be recessed into the front of the bases and needs to be done twice as the two bases are of different sizes.
To the right is a copy of a page from the History to Herstory project, which I can't now find online to create a link to, in order to acknowledge their work on this. Instead this is my own working copy in order to understand her unique style and particular way of writing with my own notation. I have discovered from trying to print the quote from a computer, that her code cannot be done electronically, 1 nil to Anne Lister she has already beaten the electronic age!
At the bottom of the page is the quote from Anne Lister's diary I shall use on the front of both plinths. I shall hand write in as close as I can in Anne Lister's own handwriting its translation. 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!
Both of the bases will have a list of her achievements written on them reading: "Anne Lister 1791 - 1840 Diarist, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Code Maker, Mountaineer, Hill walker, Traveller, Polyglot, Landowner, Lesbian"
the smaller one with the writing around its edge, the larger one with the text winding its way between her footsteps, with a second parallel set of footsteps walking beside her for the visitor to walk in. Woven through the visitors steps will be writing saying: "What will you become? Be brave like Anne and change the world"" Her left palm will be open so her fellow traveller can hold it if they wish.
After the maquettes have been moulded I shall finish the Stretching Fox and Kingfisher, while I await the verdict from the University of York's Arts Committee.
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.
You can find out more about the development of this project on my Public Statue of Anne Lister Facebook Page.
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: