Rebel Women is a year-long season of events at the National Portrait Gallery, sponsored by MGallery by Sofitel, to mark 100 years of women gaining the vote in Britain. Its aim is to reflect the suffrage movement, pioneering women throughout history, the contemporary relevance of active citizenship and the ongoing battle for equality.
On announcing the season, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, told the press: “We will be marking the centenary of Britain’s Representation of the People Act with a major season of talks and events celebrating the accomplishments of women. New displays will present a vivid portrait of the Suffrage movement, from the images of suffragettes on the postcards they produced to the shocking Criminal Records Office surveillance photographs.”
MGallery by Sofitel decided to sponsor this season because of the brand’s commitment to celebrating women. MGallery have recently introduced ‘Inspired by Her’, a special offering designed by women for women and designed to make life easier for female travellers and show female guests that MGallery understands their needs and respects them. The individuality of the sitters in the Rebel Women trail and Votes for Women display is also aligned with the MGallery brand, where each of our hotels tells its own story and leaves a strong legacy in the towns and cities in which they reside. In the same way, each of these Rebel Women portraits tells its own unique story.
From the end of January there has been Rebel Women lectures, discussions, talks and a Rebel Women trail and these will continue until 31st December 2018. This is a season of events, not just for women, but for everyone to engage with.
If you’re planning a visit to London in 2018 you simply must take a morning or afternoon to appreciate the wonderful exhibitions on display at the National Portrait Gallery and walk the Rebel Women trail. You will learn so much about inspiring, rebellious women who weren’t afraid to push boundaries and fight for what they believed in.
Votes for Women
Until the 3rd June 2018, there was a special display titled Votes for Women which showcased some portraits of the campaigners who brought women’s rights to the forefront. Those featured included Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Dame Christabel Pankhurst.
Votes for Women: Pioneers is a complimentary display open until 14 January 2019, which concentrates on the Victorian pioneers such as Jane Cobden Unwin and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.
Both displays were moving, with many of those visiting the gallery remarking on the inclusion of a portrait of one of the gallery’s founders, Thomas Carlyle, by Sir John Everett Millais. It had been slashed with a butcher’s cleaver by suffragette Anne Hunt after Emmeline Pankhurst had been re-arrested.
Rebel Women Trail
The Rebel Women trail, launched in May, takes visitors on a journey through 10 contemporary women’s thoughts on historical women; from comedians Miranda Hart and Sarah Mullally on Beatrix Potter and Mary Seacole. The trail highlights the enduring influence the Gallery’s female sitters have on today’s pioneering women
There are still plenty of talks and lectures you can attend in the coming months. These include Emily Bronte: A Celebration, Radical women in portraits and Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters.
The National Portrait Gallery is open daily 10am – 6pm, with Friday Lates sessions running until 9pm. Why not visit next time you’re in the capital?
In celebration of MGallery by Sofitel sponsoring the year-long season, we are giving you the opportunity to win a luxury overnight stay for two at one of our five boutique hotels, including afternoon tea and breakfast. To enter, you simply need to share which women inspire you and why on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #RebelWomen to enter.
Photo credit: Suffragettes March in Hyde Park, by Mrs Albert Broom (Christina Livingston), 23 July 1910 © National Portrait Gallery