The Suffrage Photography of Lena Connell

Creating a Cult of Great Women Leaders in Britain, 1908–1914


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About the Book

Lena Connell was one of a new breed of young professional women who took up photography at the turn of the 20th century. She ran her own studio in North London, only employed women, and made her mark on history by creating compellingly modern portraits of women in the British suffrage movement. The women that Connell captured on film are as class-inclusive a group as you could find: whether they were factory workers, schoolteachers, or aristocrats, they joined the cause to make a difference for future generations of women, if not for themselves. Connell’s portraits created a new kind of visibility for these activists as hard-working, unrelenting women, whose spirits rose above injustice. This book examines Connell’s artistic career within the Edwardian suffrage movement. It discusses her body of portraits within the British suffrage movement’s propagandistic efforts and its goals of sophisticated, professional representations of its members. It includes all of her known portraits of suffragettes through 1914.

About the Author(s)

Colleen Denney is a professor of art history and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie. She has published extensively on the visual culture of women’s activism worldwide.

Bibliographic Details

Colleen Denney

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: 88 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8162-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4390-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction: Lena Connell, British Suffrage Photographer: Creating a Cult of Great Women 7
Chapter 1. Lena Connell’s Photographic Studio, Professional Presentation, and Practice 39
Chapter 2. The Cult of Great Women: Portraying Representative Leaders and Organizers 64
Chapter 3. Theatrical and Literary Representations in the Cult of Great Women: The Women Writers’ Suffrage League, the Actresses’ Franchise League and Other Women Workers for the Cause 110
Chapter 4. Transgressive and Transformative Acts and Resistance Narratives: Public Performances Speaking Through Studio Portraits 137
Epilogue: The Legacy of Lena Connell’s Suffrage Portraits Within the Cult of Great Women 155
Appendix: Royal Photographic Society Exhibits by Miss Lena Connell 163
Chapter Notes 165
Bibliography 181
Index 189