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The Society of Women Artists

The Minster Gallery presents an exhibition of exciting works by selected members of the SWA.

The Society was originally founded as The Society of Female Artists in 1857 a unique group to encourage women artists to paint and hold an annual exhibition. Up until this point in time women artists had largely been dismissed by their male counter parts and the established Royal Academy, which at its foundation in 1768 had two women members had had no other female academicians for over 150, years until Annie Swynnerton SWA (a member since 1879) was elected as an associate.

The SFA became involved in the teaching of art to women who at the time were excluded from more professional training. With this came higher standards and the Society by the beginning of the twentieth century was named the Society of Women Artists and had shed the shackles of Victorian mores and attitudes.

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