Women Artists in Britain

by Alain Chivilò


Four centuries within a constant social evolution. From 1520 to 1920 with more than one hundred female artists for over two hundred works divided into watercolor, oil, sculpture, pastel, needle painting, photography. London, Tate Britain from 16 May to 13 October 2024.

“Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520 – 1920”, pays homage to the evolution of women in art who, from personal productions put in the background, have reached visibility and consideration century after century. Just think of the 1874 work “The Roll Call” by Elizabeth Thompson which made John Ruskin retrace his steps after he had previously stated that “no woman could paint”. Remaining in the Victorian period, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon was among the first members of the Society of Female Artists who promoted the campaign for the admission of women to the Royal Academy Schools.

Bearing in mind that the collective exhibition at Tate Britain is dedicated to British female artists with the presence of Artemisia Gentileschi who worked at the Court of Charles I, through two works of which one “Susannah and the Elders” on loan for the first time from the Royal Collection, it starts from the Tudor period with Esther Inglis and Levina Teerlinc and continue via Maria Verelst, Mary Beale and Joan Carlile, Mary Black, Anne Seymour Damer, Katherine Read and Margaret Sarah Carpenter. A special mention also to Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman women included among the Founder Members of the Royal Academy of Arts waiting 160 years to have another female’ artist.

The exhibition, curated by Tate Britain’s Tabitha Barber, Curator British Art 1550-1750, with Tim Batchelor, Assistant Curato, British Art 1550-1750, ends in the first decades of the twentieth century in Helen Saunders, Vanessa Bell, Gwen John, Ethel Walker, Laura Knight and Anna Airy.

A unique possibility, within the theme of women artists, for an encyclopedic vision and analysis of art in 400 years of life, embracing different historical periods and an evolving society between technology, science, customs and knowledge.

Official list of artists:

Sarah Angelina Acland; Elinor Proby Adams; Anna Airy; Helen Allingham; Helen Cordelia Angell; Clare Atwood; Rose Barton; Emma Barton; Mary Beale; Vanessa Bell; Mary Benwell; Zaida Ben-Yusuf; Sarah Biffin; Mary Black; Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon; Rosa Bonheur; Rosa Brett; Ann Brigman; Elizabeth Butler; Carine Cadby; Julia Margaret Cameron; Joan Carlile; Margaret Sarah Carpenter; Penelope Carwardine; Florence Claxton; Maria Cosway; Dolores Courtney; Catherine da Costa; Anne Seymour Damer; Evelyn De Morgan; Sarah Anne Drake; Susan Durant; Olive Edis; Maria Flaxman; Anne Forbes; Elizabeth Forbes; Mary Gartside; Artemisia Gentileschi; Sylvia Gosse; Harriet Gouldsmith; Nina Hamnett; Minnie Jane Hardman; Clementina Hawarden; Diana Hill; Harriet Hosmer; Esther Inglis; Frances Elizabeth Jocelyn; Gwen John; Mary Ann Jones; Charlotte Jones; Louise Jopling; Gertrude Kasebier; Angelica Kauffman; Minna Keene; Lucy Kemp-Welch; Emma Kendrick; Anne Killigrew; Laura Knight; Mary Knowles; L.A. (Ida) Knox; Eileen Lambton; Edmonia Lewis; Mary Linwood; Lowry; Anne Mee; Margaret Meen; Anna Lea Merritt; Evelyn Meyers; Clara Montalba; Henrietta Montalba; Mary Moser; Olive Mudie-Cooke; Martha Darley Mutrie; Caroline Emily Nevill; Emily Mary Osborn; Louise Pickard; Emily Pitchford; Clara Maria Pope; Henrietta Rae; Katherine Read; Frances Reynolds; Christina Robertson; Susannah-Penelope Rosse; Ethel Sands; Helen Saunders; Sarah Setchel; Rolinda Sharples; Kate Smith; Rebecca Solomon; Marie Spartali Stillman; Maria Spilsbury; Jane Steele; Marianne Stokes; Sarah Stone; Annie Louisa Swynnerton; Levina Teerlinc; Mary Thornycroft; Maria Verelst; Ethel Walker; Agnes Warburg; Henrietta Ward; Joanna Mary Wells; Augusta Withers; Ethel Wright.


©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo

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