Scarborough Art Gallery is pleased to host this touring exhibition featuring 16 works by Sylvia Pankhurst.
In the centenary year for Women’s Suffrage in Britain – when women over 30 got the right to vote for the first time – this exhibition displays a selection of paintings and pastels by Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960). The daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the Women’s Social and Political Union, Sylvia was a prominent Suffragette, and later an anti-fascist campaigner, as well as an artist. She trained at Manchester School of Art, winning the prize for best female student in 1901 and going on to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London.
Pankhurst travelled round England and Scotland in 1907, recording the lives of working women she met in the pottery, shoe-making, fishing and spinning industries, among others. She worked quickly, trying to convey the truth of what she saw, without prettiness or pathos. At this time in her life, Pankhurst was deciding on her own path – was she to devote herself to art or to campaigning for votes for women? While she managed both for some years, by 1912 her decision was made. This exhibition reveals that a true artist was lost when the Suffragettes gained a champion.