Women’s rights and the rules of inheritance have impacted significantly on those who have lived at Knole House, due to the familial tradition of passing the 600-year-old house to the male heir. Vita Sackville-West’s distress at being unable to inherit her family home was immortalised by Virginia Woolf in Orlando. However, many other women’s stories at Knole have remained largely hidden. For this exhibition, six women artists give a voice to some of these women through a variety of media. They broach the complex mother-daughter relationship between Victoria and Vita Sackville-West, the impassioned letters of Anne Clifford and Frances Cranfield, and the silent presence of laundress Grace Robinson to raise questions around ownership, relationships, class and gender identity. The artists, who include Turner prizewinner Lubaina Himid, Emily Speed and CJ Mahoney, present a range of sculpture, film, online content and other interventions throughout the house and grounds at the historic building.
The exhibition forms part of the National Trust’s Women and Power programme. This year-long programme celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act.
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