Friday, 6 April 2018

'Art and Suffrage'


Anyone with an interest in the history of women's suffrage in the UK will surely have come across historian and writer Elizabeth Crawford. Her two key books, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Regional Survey and The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide are indispensable to anyone interested in researching the women who campaigned in their own area... and were absolutely essential tools when researching my own recent book, The Women Who Built Bristol (to which Elizabeth also generously contributed several entries).

As well as these reference guides, Elizabeth has authored a number of other books, and the one that I recommend to absolutely everybody (if you're only going to pick one) is Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye's Suffrage Diary, which I wrote about a few years ago upon publication. You can also watch a video of Elizabeth talking about Kate here (and see the back of my head throughout, sorry about that!).

Now, published in February to coincide with the centenary of when (some) women received the vote, Elizabeth has published Art and Suffrage: A Biographical Dictionary of Suffrage Artists


This beautiful, fully illustrated new book covers the lives of more than 100 suffrage artists (mostly women), many of whom I did not previously know about although their artworks were largely familiar to me. So it was truly fascinating to read the stories about the people who created these important pieces of suffrage propaganda and merchandise, and to read about how these artworks came to be and the reasons behind them. It adds a whole new level to my understanding of the imagery of the suffrage campaign. Because, of course, it is hard to imagine a political campaign that was more visual than the suffrage one.

You can visit Elizabeth's website here, and her publisher's website here to buy the book. 


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