English Double-Sided Souvenir Bells

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer1908/1914

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Very popular in English resort towns were the suffrage themed china bells shown here. Issued by Arcadian, Carlton, and Swan China for the bazaar trade, they featured on one side both the crest of the town in which the piece was sold along with a caricature of a woman often identified with “Sairey Gamp,” a dissolute, sloppy, and alcoholic nurse from Charles Dickens’ novel, Martin Chuzzlewit. On the other side appeared the image of a beautiful woman and a positive suffrage phrase.

Thus the bell was ostensibly neutral in design allowing the purchaser to display whichever side she or he was in agreement with. However, since the crest of the town always appeared on the side depicting Mrs. Gamp, one could infer that the manufacturers’ sympathies were with the anti-forces. The same Mrs. Gamp figure was also used for a brass bell of similar design except for the fact that here there was no corresponding positive image on the reverse.

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  • Title: English Double-Sided Souvenir Bells
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
  • Date: 1908/1914