Thursday - 02 October 2014

Suffragettes win bidders’ votes

17 October 2013Written by ATG Reporter

The August 1908 issue of Votes for Women, house magazine of the Women’s Social and Political Union describes ‘the latest novelty in the Union colours – a special belt and buckle, which is being sold at half-a-crown each’.

The buckle is cast in relief with The Haunted House, a David Wilson cartoon in the Daily Chronicle the previous year depicting a female ghost holding a Votes For Women ballot box hovering over the Houses of Parliament.

Today these are very rare - the local buyer whose family has been collecting Suffrage pieces for 50 years had never seen one before until this example was offered at Clevedon Salerooms' (19% buyer's premium)on September 12.

It retained its original belt in the WSPU colours and was accompanied by a Suffragette sash that alone could make a four-figure price (one sold at Stacey's in Essex for £1250 in March 2011).

The £400-600 estimate at the Somerset rooms always looked conservative and the specialist collector had to go to £3400 to secure the lot.

Doulton Inkwell

A more familiar Suffragette collectable is the Doulton stoneware inkwell entitled The Virago, one of which was seen at Biddle & Webb (17.5% buyer's premium)  in Birmingham on September 13.

This 2½in (8.5cm) model of a robust woman standing with folded arms wearing an apron embossed with the slogan Votes for Women, was one of two figures (the other similar with the head of an infant known as Baby)registered by Royal Doulton c.1909 when the WSPU were taking their most radical and militant action.

The less-than-flattering portrayal of the subject has led Doulton historians to speculate on modeller Leslie Harradine's attitude to women's suffrage.

 The market for these pieces appears a little softer now than a few years ago when The Virago could make more than £500 - even with the damage often seen to the hinges.

This one, in relatively good condition, took £360 against an estimate of £200-300.

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