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Voyaging Out

British Women Artists from Suffrage to the Sixties

Carolyn Trant


Tells the story of modern British art history through the stories of its women


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, Voyaging Out 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’.

Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out (1915) has her female heroine strive towards a realization of her sense of self, asking what being a woman might mean. 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, Voyaging Out reveals this hidden history.

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'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

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Illustrations: 120

Publication date: 5 September 2019

ISBN: 9780500021828

About the Author

Carolyn Trant is an 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.