This series of four sessions presents seventeen artistic personalities, selecting examples of female artists from different centuries. As the title of the course suggests, they are primarily looked at as artists, and only as a result of the analysis of their biographies is their identity as female artists acknowledged, observing how that affected their careers, their work and their role for the following generations.

The project emerged from the collaboration between Sara and contemporary artist Jane Fairhurst (photo 4): as a research-based, feminist woman artist, Jane has been researching and drawing inspiration from women artists of the past throughout her career, and has been working on a piece of embroidery (photo 6) to celebrate all these personalities. This piece, still ongoing, has been the starting point for Sara's deeper engagement with the subject, which led to the creation of this series.

The artists

Session 1

Hildegard of Bingen

Sofonisba Anguissola

Artemisia Gentileschi

Judith Leyster

Session 2

Maria Sibylla Merian

Luisa Ignacia Roldan

Rachel Ruysch

Rosalba Carriera

Session 3

Angelica Kauffman

Élizabeth Vigée-LeBrun

Rosa Bonheur

Elizabeth Thompson

Session 4

Berthe Morisot

Mary Cassatt

Edmonia Lewis

Louise Bourgeois

and Jane Fairhurst









Photos 1-5, 7 by Steven Heaton © Steven Heaton 2020

Photo 6 courtesy of the artist © Jane Fairhurst 2020

Some lovely quotes from feedback about this course

"Loved the way it wasn’t a feminist viewpoint, simply a view of women artists who were good at what they did!!"

"Fascinating, should be at BBC4!"

"Well planned, well delivered from a great knowledge of her subject – excellent. Good take away notes – great teaching."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed this four week course. I have learned about artists I hadn’t heard of as well as learning more about some familiar names."

"There is so much about the way you have presented art history that opens it up in a really interesting positive light. Nothing has been as informative in my previous training."