Votes for Women: A touring exhibition exploring the fight for female suffrage

A suffragette meeting from 1906

We’re delighted to introduce a new exhibition Faces of Change: Votes for Women, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition will tour three of our places and is part of our Women and Power programme, exploring the stories from women’s history and the debate over female suffrage.

As part of this special touring exhibition, you’ll be able to see well-known but rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and documents from the National Portrait Gallery Collection and items from our places that explore the debate that waged over women’s suffrage.

The exhibition will include items relevant to each place, connecting local stories of social protest, family divisions and deeply held beliefs to the wider national story.

Presenting an overview of the campaign for Votes for Women from the late 19th century until 1918, it includes portraits of key figures such as suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, and surveillance photographs of militant suffragettes.

Also on display are portraits representing the legacy of the suffrage movement, including Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat as an MP in the House of Commons, by John Singer Sargent, and a photograph of MP Ellen Wilkinson leading the Jarrow March in 1936.

Suffragettes dressed in whitte marching.

The Workhouse, Nottinghamshire 

29 April – 22 July 2018

This exhibition brings a local focus on the working class and the work of Lady Laura Elizabeth Ridding, the first female guardian of The Workhouse Southwell and a founder member of the National Union of Women Workers. Items on display include original photographs and objects, illustrating the battles faced by working class women who lacked the power of political representation.

Votes for Women? exhibition

Killerton, Devon 

4 August – 31 October 2018

Immerse yourself in both sides of the suffrage debate, as the story of a family divided is told through portraits of key suffrage players, including those from the National Women’s Anti-Suffrage league. The exhibition also showcases the politicisation of clothing during the period.

Edith, Lady Londonderry

Mount Stewart, County Down 

9 November 2018 – 03 February 2019

Discover more about Edith, Lady Londonderry, founder of the Women’s Legion. The exhibition asks questions about the role and tactics employed by the peaceful suffragists compared to the militant suffragettes. Highlights include portraits by society painters John Singer Sargent and Philip de László.