Sunday, 6 May 2012


Since my visit to  RAMM earlier this year I've been meaning  to visit Plymouth City Museum.  For this is the usual home of the gobsmackingly amazing 'Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach' by Stanhope Forbes that was being exhibited in Exeter as part of a special exhibition.  I reckoned that there must be other gems in the collection at this great seafaring city. Yesterday, I finally got around to visiting and I wasn't at all disappointed.

One of the galleries has an exhibition titled  'Women in Art'.  It's not on permanent show but you don't have to head down to the South West in double quick time to see it as it's on until March 2013.  It got me thinking in a semi-deep way.  Blimey!  How many  female artists could I name aside from those Young British Artists who, in this celebrity obsessed culture, have achieved superstar status?  Well, there's Barbara Hepworth, of course and the moustachioed  Freda Kahlo.   Oh! and Georgia O' Keefe.  Thereafter things get a bit hazy.  I'm aware of the existence of Vanessa Bell,   Dora Carrington and Gwen John but I couldn't identify any of their works.  There's more chance of me naming one of the Pokemon characters.  By the way, the spiky yellow one is called Pikachu.
Of course I've forgotten Beryl Cook and how fitting it is that this exhibition is in the city where she spent a portion of her life painting its residents.  Today they are still evocative of what a good night out  in Plymouth actually involves.    But you'll have to follow the link to see some of her work.   For today I'm showcasing art from ladies whose names have been lost to us.  How many more there must be have been  through the ages who wielded a brush through chauvinistic times but went unrecognised
Seeing that women used to be chattels of their husbands could it be that their work was passed off as being painted by the old man.  Congratulation Mrs da Vinci.  Your portrayal of that enigmatic smiling bird really is a corker!

Here's one where I thought that I'd recognised the artist and my emergence as an art buff was truly complete.    Serves me right for being big headed.  This is, in fact,  by Therese Lessore (1884-1945) and has similar no nonsense subject matter to work commissioned in World War II from  Pegaret Anthony that I've showcased previously.

Hearty congratulations must go to the curators who've put this fantastic show together.  And thanks of course to those talented womenfolk who worked in eras, not so far in the dim distant past, when they were unlikely to achieve the recogntion of their male counterparts.  Not only Therese but Margo Maeckelberghe  (Fishing Boat, St Ives), Alethea Garstin  (Town Band) and Dorothy CP Ward  (An Aerial View of Plymouth of Environs).


  1. What an inspiring post, I shall investigate those women starting tomorrow.

  2. Women have never been taken seriously in many creative endeavors. Or, they were forbidden to publish or circulate their works. Georgia O'Keefe and Kahlo were the only two I recognized.