Joan of Arc, the 15th century French heroine of the 100 Years War, was the obvious choice as patron saint of the UK Suffragettes in the early 20th century.
Nicknamed the ‘Suffragettes’, The Women’s Social and Political Union had split off from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903, disillusioned with the low key approach of the NUWSS. The Suffragettes were persuaded that only militant tactics could win equal voting rights for women.
This tea towel is based on a poster advertising the WSPU’s official newspaper, 'The Suffragette'. It was originally named 'Votes for Women', but when its editors and financers were dismissed from the movement over their growing doubts about its militant tactics in 1912, the paper was renamed and placed under Christabel Pankhurst’s editorship.
The poster was designed by Hilda Dallas (1878-1958) and incorporates the Suffragette colours of purple, green and white. Dallas was a member of the Suffrage Atelier, an artists’ collective.