Suffragette photoshoot

Lacing themselves into corsets and putting on the finest hats, Mary and Charlotte transformed into Suffragettes for this year's photoshoot.

" We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers"
- Emmeline Pankhurst

On a bright sunny day, much to photographer Steve Haywood's annoyance a small group of staff head out around the estate at Killerton for the photoshoot to accompany this year's exhibitions: Votes for Women? and Branded; fashion, femininity and the right to vote.

Mary James, Senior Visitor Experience Officer and Charlotte Eddington, Assistant to the Costume Curator, where the lucky models who got the don replica costume borrowed from Bristol Costume Service and embody the campaigning women of the early twentieth century.

Chained to the railings
Staff dressed as suffragettes
Chained to the railings

Both Mary and Charlotte were deeply involved in creating the exhibitons that can be seen in the house until November 4, 2018. Charlotte spent months mounting all the costumes on dispay - a task that is more time consuming than you realise - and made the props that were used in the photoshoot.

Mary was key in the production of the content and installation of both exhibitions and makes an incredible suffragette.

Resisting arrest
Staff in Edwardian costume
Resisting arrest

Photoshoots are a long process and take the best part of a day for Steve to capture the images he is looking for, but there is always time for a cup of tea and chat.

Always time for a cuppa, even for a suffragette
Satff taking a break from modelling
Always time for a cuppa, even for a suffragette

Though we don't know all the tricks that Steve gets up to in post production, the use of smoke machines during the shoot always helps to create atmosphere, one that was certainly needed to make this special place look like the grey streets of London.

Fighting for the right
Staff modelling like suffragettes
Fighting for the right

Mary and Charlotte, along with Robert Meakings and Bryan Hunt as the policemen, where brilliant models and lept into character for this shoot. All of the team invloved were keen to make sure we did just to the historic significance of the cause, and the scarifices the women would have made back then.

'Votes for Women?' and 'Branded: fashion, femininity and the right to vote' are on until November 4, 2018.

Look out for details on the partnership exhibition with National Portait Gallery, 'Faces of Change: Votes for Women' opening in August 2018.