Pioneering women at the National Portrait Gallery

Course Dates: 16/04/24
Time: 10:30 - 13:30
Location: Off Site
Meet some of history's most inspiring women, not only well-known pioneers but also women over the past five hundred years whose stories have been forgotten. Discover and celebrate their achievements.
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Pioneering women at the National Portrait Gallery
This course is full
  • Course Code: VB972
  • Dates: 16/04/24 - 16/04/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 13:30
  • Taught: Tue, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Off Site
  • Tutor: Julie Barlow

Course Code: VB972

Full Tue, day, 16 Apr - 16 Apr '24

Duration: 1 session

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The National Portrait Gallery collection contains only a handful of examples of work by female artists working before the late nineteenth century. Until the end of the Victorian period, most of the female sitters are Queens or members of the aristocracy. There were, however, women with enough pioneering spirit and determination to succeed within their field despite the restrictions placed upon them by the society within which they lived.

Come and explore the lives of pioneers including artists Mary Beale and Dame Laura Knight, writers Mary Wollstonecraft a nd Mary Shelley and women in the world of science and medicine like Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. We will also discuss inspiring women in our world today. This is a great moment to explore the collection at the NPG following a complete rehang and reinterpretation of its collection for today’s visitors.

What will we cover?

• Explore the biographies of individual women.

• Learn about the restrictions and difficulties faced by women in seeking to work in fields more generally only open to men.

• Discuss the achievements of these pioneering women and what has enabled their success.

• Cover the full range of the collection from the Tudors to the multimedia age in which we live today.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Discuss the lives and achievements of some inspirational women from the past and present.
- Understand the social context within which these women lived and its impact upon them.
- Identify at least three different female artists across the collection at the NPG.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be taught with a mixture of guided gallery visits, group discussion and short group activities.

Museum/gallery-based courses take place during public access hours. Tutors are not able to control sound levels or behaviours of visitors outside of the course group. Unless you are a wheelchair user, and have confirmed access details with us (as levels of access can vary between galleries), you will need to be able to walk between exhibits and stand for some time while looking at them (you may bring your own portable stool if you have one, but we cannot guarantee access to any gallery stools.) If you feel you may be impacted by these environmental variations, please inform the department on before the course begins, to discuss reasonable accommodations we can make to assist your learning in the museum space.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Gallery entry is free, and entry to all the displays that we will be visiting will be free.

You might wish to bring a notebook, pen and pencil. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
Women in art 1400-1800
Women in art 1800-1900
Women in Art: 1900-1960
Feminism in modern and contemporary art.

Julie Barlow

Julie Barlow has a degree in Art History/History from the University of Hull and an MPhil (Fine Arts) from the University of Birmingham. She has worked in a variety of roles at Leighton House, V&A and Tate Gallery before studying for a PGCE and moving into Museum Education. Julie has over twenty years of experience as a freelance lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery working on all areas of the Education Programme and also for the first ten years at the National Gallery and in the last decade at the Wallace Collection.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.