Explore the banners, postcards, posters and cartoons of the suffrage movement's artists.
The Artist’s Suffrage League made its mission explicit: ‘to further the cause of Women’s Enfranchisement by the work and professional help of artists…by bringing in an attractive manner before the public eye the long continued demand for the vote’.
The ASL worked closely with the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Its first major project was the creation of 70 banners carried through the streets of London in June 1908.
Unlike the Artist's Suffrage League, the Atelier was not associated with any particular section of the suffrage movement.
They provided artwork to further the campaign of ‘militant’ societies, such as the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Women’s Freedom League, as well as that of the ‘constitutional’ NUWSS.
The Suffrage Atelier did not require members to be professionally trained and was keen to teach them the hand-printing processes necessary to produce its publications.
So, while Artists' Suffrage League posters were produced by commercial lithographic printers, Suffrage Atelier posters were printed by its members.
Although most of these were women, it is known that some men did contribute designs for these posters.
The Suffrage Atelier used wood or lino-cuts, in black and white, or with colour added by hand, giving a strong, urgent stamp to their message.
In style, the posters – with their bold, simple designs, using flat images and silhouettes – recall the work of the Beggarstaffs (William Nicholson and James Pryde) who, in the 1890s, had transformed the art of the poster.
The Atelier was business-like in producing sheets to show prospective customers thumbnail images of the posters and postcards it had for sale.
Although many of the League's posters and postcards carry an artist’s signature, most of the Atelier’s productions bear only their logo, a design featuring Athena, goddess of wisdom and of crafts.