Voyaging Out British Women Artists from Suffrage to the Sixties

Carolyn Trant

A fascinating new account of the work and lives of Britain’s women artists in the twentieth century.

In this revealing chronicle of a fascinating period of social change, artist Carolyn Trant examines the history of women artists in modern Britain, filling in the gaps in traditional art histories. Introducing the lives and works of a rich network of neglected women artists, Voyaging Out sets these alongside such renowned presences as Barbara Hepworth, Laura Knight, and Winifred Nicholson. In an era of radical activism and great social and political change, women forged new relationships with art and its institutions. Such change was not without its challenges, and with acerbic wit Trant delves into the gendered makeup of the avant-garde and the tyranny of artistic “isms.”

In Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out (1915) her female heroine strives toward a realization of her sense of self, asking what being a woman might mean. In the decades after women won the vote in Britain, the fortunes of women artists were shaped by war, domesticity, continued oppressions, and spirited resistance. Some succeeded in forging creative careers; others were thwarted by the odds stacked against them. Weaving devastating individual stories with spirited critique, Voyaging Out reveals this hidden history.


Carolyn Trant


Carolyn Trant is an artist and writer who was trained at the Slade, University College London from 1969 to 1973. She is the author of Art for Life: The Story of Peggy Angus and a contributor to The Cultural Life of Images.