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Given the national cultural events to commemorate the suffrage movement this year, few of us can have failed to notice that 2018 marks 100 years since the first steps were taken to give women the vote, with the passing of the Representation of the People Act. This political milestone provides an important opportunity to reflect upon women’s histories and the categories of influence women had on aspects of their personal, domestic, professional and cultural lives during the last 450 years. The past 12 months have also proved a time of unprecedented world-wide interest in gender inequality. It is therefore appropriate that as part of the National Trust’s ‘Women and Power’ theme this year, this National Trust Historic Houses & Collections Annual, published in association with Apollo, looks at women artists, collectors and patrons, and explores their varied approaches. These range from biographical encounters and profiles, the circumstances and motivations of individual artists, to explorations of individual taste and patronage. Many of the lesserknown narratives presented here remind us that within the broader context of patriarchal power structures, it was possible for a minority of women to exercise control and autonomy in aspects of their professional and personal lives, providing exceptional and inspiring role models.

Historians and art historians have been documenting and championing women’s histories for decades; similarly, British museums and galleries have responded energetically to ensure that the work of women artists, particularly of the 19th and 20th century, has been given its rightful place in the broader canon of art history. Some outstanding works of art in National Trust collections were commissioned, painted or made by women. This volume presents new insights into female creativity and ingenuity and includes essays on commissions by Lady Anne Clifford at Knole, a study of the 17th-century painter Joan Carlile, Angelica Kauffman’s work at Attingham, watercolours of Indian subjects by Anna Tonelli at Powis Castle, women furniture makers in London, the varied patronage and collecting of books, silver and sculpture by women across a wide historical period, and the work of Vanessa Bell at Monk’s House. It also provides an opportunity to present some important self-portraits in National Trust collections, including that by Vigée-Lebrun at Ickworth which features on the front cover (notably, a different version to that in the Uffizi).

Women have shaped the aesthetic appearance, political importance and character of the collections within houses in the care of the National Trust in a multitude of ways: as dynamic and politically astute hostesses, as diligent librarians, as artists and craftswomen, as housekeepers, as important patrons of major artists and architects, as muses, as the principal inhabitants of houses that often resemble portraits of those who dwelt in them, and as letter writers who chronicled the social circles of houses great and small. This volume shows that women’s contribution to the creation of outstanding architectural interiors and collections of decorative and fine art was not exceptional, but integral to making National Trust houses the remarkable places they are today.

Tarnya Cooper is Curatorial and Collections Director of the National Trust.

cover image Self-portrait of the Artist at the Easel, 1791, Elisabeth Louise VigéeLebrun (1755–1842), oil on canvas, 99 x 81cm, Ickworth, Suffolk Photo: © National Trust Images/ Angelo Hornak for the national trust editor Christopher Rowell managing editor Claire Forbes for apollo editor Thomas Marks copy editor David Gelber editorial assistant Samuel Reilly sub editors Fatema Ahmed and Imelda Barnard designer Tom Lobo Brennan

4 ... WOMEN ARTISTS, COLLECTORS AND PATRONS CHRISTOPHER ROWELL on the pioneers who have shaped the National Trust’s collections

12 ... THE OWL IN THE DESERT EDWARD TOWN examines Lady Anne Clifford’s engagement with portraiture during her difficult years at Knole House

19 ... REDISCOVERING THE ‘WORTHY ARTISTE MRS CARLILE’ JANE EADE reappraises the work of Joan Carlile, one of the first professional women artists

25... TASTE CONTAINED AND LIBERATED JAMES ROTHWELL celebrates the women who were important patrons of silver in Stuart and Georgian Britain

32 ... ANGELICA KAUFFMAN AT ATTINGHAM PARK SARAID JONES revisits three important works at Attingham, commissioned from the Austro-Swiss painter by the second Lord Berwick

39 ... GAME OF THRONES IN AN ‘ASIATIC WORLD’ JOHN CHU on the drawings commissioned from Anna Tonelli by Lady Henrietta Clive, and their role in British expansion in India

46 ... SONGS IN THE NIGHT TIM PYE considers Lady Lucy Whitmore’s pivotal role in transforming the library at Dudmaston

53 ... NANCY ASTOR, SUBJECT AND PATRON OF 20TH-CENTURY SCULPTURE OONAGH KENNEDY examines a portrait bust Nancy Astor commissioned from Jo Davidson in 1930

58 ... VIRGINIA WOOLF: PATRON AND MAKER NINO STRACHEY looks at the writer’s patronage of her sister Vanessa Bell through the collection that Woolf assembled at Monk’s House

65 ... ‘I BEQUEATH UNTO MY LOVING WIFE’ LAURIE LINDEY on the lives of two women furniture makers in early modern London

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