EU shipping is temporarily suspended

British Women Artists

From Suffrage to the Sixties

Carolyn Trant


The story of modern British art history told through the stories of its women

See Inside

Also available as an eBook from Online store, Online store


Consider for a moment the history of modern art in Britain; you may struggle to land on a narrative that features very many women. On this journey through a fascinating period of social change, artist Carolyn Trant fills in some of the gaps in traditional art histories. Introducing the lives and works of a rich network of neglected women artists, British Women Artists sets these alongside such renowned presences as Barbara Hepworth, Laura Knight and Winifred Nicholson. In an era of radical activism and great social and political change, women forged new relationships with art and its institutions. Such change was not without its challenges, and with acerbic wit Trant delves into the gendered make-up of the ‘avant-garde’, and the tyranny of artistic ‘isms’.

In the decades after women won the vote in Britain, the fortunes of women artists were shaped by war, domesticity, continued oppressions and spirited resistance. Some succeeded in forging creative careers; others were thwarted by the odds stacked against them. Weaving devastating individual stories with playful critique, British Women Artists reveals this hidden history.

Read More


'Offers a powerful and important corrective to historical accounts that continue to draw on the same small pool of participants ... It was a pleasure to discover for the first time so many women artists overdue serious attention'
Times Literary Supplement

'A wonderfully rich panorama of creative lives, by turns elegiac and celebratory. Truthful, practical and open-minded, Trant’s book points us in new directions '
Alexandra Harris

'A lavish chronicle of female artists and their struggle to succeed ... full of surprises'
Rachel Cooke, Observer

'A poignant and thought-provoking read ... Some of the concerns and conversations here still resonate today. A book about life as much as art'
All About History

'Buy it for broader and deeper insights into 20th-century art'
The Artist

'A welcome reappraisal that successfully avoids clouding its own message by being over-optimistic and is all the more eloquent for that'

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 336 pp

Illustrations: 128

Publication date: 7 March 2024

ISBN: 9780500297827

Contents List

1. Daughters of the Sun
2. Blessed Company
3. Not Merely a Window
4. A Room of One’s Own
5. Alternative Arrangements
6. Women on Top
7. On Growth and Form
8. The Subversive Eye
9. Art for Love
10. Education Through Art
11. Proletarians and Painters
12. These Things that War Has Made
13. Thinking in Common
14. Significant Others
15. Three Salutary Tales
16. In the Service of Art
17. The Kitchen Sink
18. This is Tomorrow

About the Author

Carolyn Trant is a practising artist who was trained at the Slade, University College of London. She is the author of Art for Life: The Story of Peggy Angus and a contributor to The Cultural Life of Images.