Faces of Change: Votes for Women

National Portrait Gallery exhibition launches at National Trust’s The Workhouse, Southwell

From 29 April to 22 July 2018, visitors can view the exhibition between 12:00 and 16:00 in The Workhouse. The exhibition will then move on to two other National Trust properties – Killerton, Devon, (4 August – 31 October 2018) and then to Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland, (November 2018 – February 2019.)

 In 2018, the National Trust is celebrating 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote and is holding events and exhibitions at its places to explore the lives of those who fought for suffrage, as well as others who influenced change throughout history.

The Workhouse will be commemorating this milestone with a special programme of events. ‘Struggle for Suffrage: Workhouse Women and the Vote’ highlights historical local women connected to The Workhouse, both the suffragists and the militant suffragettes who fought to have their voices heard.

As part of the centenary commemorations, The Workhouse will be the first of three Trust places to stage a touring exhibition in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. Launching at The Workhouse on 29 April, ‘Faces of Change – Votes for Women’ will be drawn from the National Portrait Gallery Collection and will include well-known but also rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and archival documents.

 At The Workhouse, over 35 photographs, prints, drawings and paintings from the Gallery’s Collection will be displayed, celebrating key figures in the national campaign for women’s suffrage. This includes not only the working women who joined the campaign, whose lives were deeply affected by the lack of political representation, but also titled women who played a key role in forcing through change.

For The Workhouse, one of the most exciting original photographs from the National Portrait Gallery is of Lady Laura Elizabeth Ridding, the first female guardian of The Workhouse Southwell, a significant Suffragist and supporter of working women’s rights all her life.

Jan Overfield-Shaw, Creative and Community Officer at The Workhouse says:

“The exhibition has been designed to celebrate key figures in the national campaign for women’s suffrage. From formal paintings to militant propaganda, the portraits on display will complement the unique stories of disenfranchised and working women associated with The Workhouse.”

Rosie Broadley, 19th and 20th-Century Collections Curator, National Portrait Gallery says:  

The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to have the opportunity to share its collection of portraits of key figures in the campaign for women’s suffrage with three wonderful National Trust properties.  Some of the works in the exhibition have special resonance with these properties and it is very exciting to see these stories brought to life through this collaboration.”


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