Highlighting the Kipling women at Bateman's

As part of the National Trust's Women and Power programme, we will be taking a closer look at the women in Kipling's life; far from living in his shadow they played a key role.

An autumn view from the quarry garden to the east front of Bateman's in East Sussex

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species is one of Kipling's best-known works and this autumn we'll be taking a closer look at the inspiration for this poem.

Our collection highlights will look at the various women in Kipling's life and how they each helped to shape him and his work.

The power behind the man

Rudyard was surrounded by interesting and, often strong, independent women. Rudyard’s wife Caroline for instance, very much took control of her husband’s financial and literary contracts and became his de-facto PA. She also ran the staff, property and farms all from her office at Bateman’s.

Yet Caroline was anti-feminist and cautious about women receiving the vote and having more freedom and power. This despite having a very powerful position herself in their marriage and at Bateman’s.

Rudyard wrote The Female of the Species as a response to his wife’s stand on such female liberation – critics have argued ever since as to whether it is a piece lambasting the movement or in support of it.

A portrait of Caroline Starr Balestier (Carrie Kipling) by Sir Edward Burne-Jones from Bateman's in East Sussex

Female inspiration

Rudyard took inspiration from women throughout his life; from his Indian Nanny who taught him Indian tales and folklore, to his daughters who inspired him to write the Just So Stories.

We're proud to be able to highlight the women of Kipling's life and the items that they left behind.

  • Collection highlights will be on display from Saturday 8 September to Sunday 4 November.
  • Daily from 11am to 5pm (4pm from Monday 29 October) in the house. Last entry to the house is at 4.30pm (3.30pm from Monday 29 October).
  • Free event but normal admission charges apply.
  • From Monday 29 October, these highlights will only be accessible through one of our guided tours hourly from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Possible additional tours may be offered at 12.00 noon, 1pm and 2pm.