Annie Swynnerton (1)

There is an intriguing and wide-ranging article in this week’s LRB which refers amongst other things to the author’s great-grandmother, Annie Swynnerton, as the first woman to be elected to the RA.   She was born in Manchester, educated at the Manchester School of Art and the Académie Julian and then studied in Rome.   In 1879, she and a fellow student, Susan Dacre, founded the Manchester Society of Women Painters and in 1889 she signed the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’ Declaration in Favour of Women’s Suffrage.   Much admired by, amongst others, Watts and Sargent, she was elected an ARA in 1922.   Laura Knight is remembered as the first female full RA, elected not until in 1936, so it is a relief to discover that she was not quite the first to be elected after Moser and Kauffman.

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