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, doing so now 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 York City Council in the summer 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 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 York City Council and York Civic Trust 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 £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.
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.
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: