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The Suffrage Atelier was an artists’ group founded to provide propaganda designs for the militant women’s suffrage campaign.
The Suffrage Atelier was founded in London in February 1909 as 'An Arts and Crafts Society Working for the Enfranchisement of Women'. Its object was: 'to encourage Artists to forward the Women's Movement, and particularly the Enfranchisement of Women, by means of pictorial publications.' They designed and made banners, posters and cards for the Women’s Freedom League and the Women’s Social and Political Union, particularly in preparation for the Women’s Exhibition of May 1909.
The Atelier artists specialised in hand-made wooden block prints, stencilling and etchings and produced visually powerful posters and postcards to publicise the pro-suffrage campaign. Their focus on block printing was to publish only designs that could be quickly reproduced. In comparison to the Artists’ Suffrage League, the Atelier encouraged contributions by amateurs and paid a small fee, although only women who were professional illustrators could become members.
The siblings Laurence and Clemence Housman, both well-known writers and illustrators, were the co-founders of the Atelier. Other members included Catherine Courtauld, Edith Craig and Isobel Pocock. The Atelier’s headquarters rotated between the homes and studios of various artists, where many iconic banners and leaflets of the Suffragette movement were produced.
The Suffrage Atelier seems to have closed down on the outbreak of war in August 1914.