Faces of Change: Votes for Women Touring Exhibition comes to Mount Stewart

Inspired by the centenary anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, our forthcoming partnership with the National Portrait Gallery “Faces of Change: Votes for Women Touring Exhibition”, brings a significant collection of national importance to Northern Ireland, celebrating the national public programming theme of Women and Power.

Faces of Change: Votes for Women Exhibition
9 Nov – 3 Feb 2018
Thursday-Sunday 11am-2.30pm

At Mount Stewart, we are working in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery to present an exhibition of well-known but also rarely seen paintings, drawings and photographs loaned from the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition also includes some of the property’s original collection of paintings and artefacts relating to Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry that reflect the story of one woman’s role in society and politics during a time of change and politicisation for women, by virtue of her socio-political role in society and her personification of the modern capabilities of women and the tactics employed by the peaceful suffragists compared to the militant suffragettes.

Some special objects including surveillance photographs of militant suffragettes, issued to the National Portrait Gallery by Scotland Yard during the height of militant violence will be on display, alongside rarely seen portraits of key figures including suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. Also included are portraits representing the legacy of the suffrage campaign, including a drawing of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat as MP in the House of Commons, by John Singer Sargent.

The exhibition presents an overview of the campaign for Votes for Women from the late 19th century until 1918. Photographs, prints, drawings and paintings from the Gallery’s collection will be displayed with some of the items from each property’s own collection which brings portraiture and places together to share stories that neither partner can tell as fully on their own.

" “The extraordinary life and achievements of Edith Londonderry are not widely known on a national level. This exhibition will place her amongst her contemporaries, both men and women, who played a part on the national stage during the campaign for women’s suffrage. In particular, a highlight of the collaboration will be a sketch by singer Sargent of Nancy Astor, the first woman elected to Parliament to take her seat. This will be compared with our own Singer Sargent sketch of Edith Londonderry, who chose different methods to campaign for equality than her American counterpart.”"
- Dr. Neil Watt, House & Collections Manager at Mount Stewart

The display of items from the National Portrait Gallery, alongside the indigenous items held within the collection at Mount Stewart, will contextualise the role of Edith Londonderry and celebrate her British and Irish counterparts in the fight for political parity.

The exhibition opened on 9 November 2018 and will run from Thursday-Sunday 11am-2.30pm until 3 February 2019

" “I shall hope never to let you down [even though] we may not always agree about politics…”"
- Nancy Astor, in correspondence to Edith Londonderry, 1919.
Processing Suffragettes c.1908

What is Women and Power? 

In 2018 we examined how the places we care for have been home to women of every background; women of incredible strength and determination, whose voices were often silenced. The programme uncovered previously untold stories of the women who shaped our places and explored the lives of those who fought for and against female suffrage.