The story of Dunham Massey in Cheshire has long been dominated by tales of the Earls that owned it but there are many more diverse histories to be shared of the people who have lived, loved and worked across the estate. Whilst there are distant connections between Dunham and powerful women such as Elizabeth Woodville and the Pankhursts, it is the lesser-known women who have helped to shape Dunham’s past — but how well do we know them?
This year, the National Trust is celebrating the centenary of some women gaining the right to vote by shining a light on women's history and exploring the theme of Women and Power within its places and collections.
As part of it's ‘Dunham Massey: A Woman's Place?’ programme, Dunham Massey is working in partnership with Women in Print; a Manchester-based project which brings to life women's history through print, and celebrates the incredible creative talent of artists and makers working in the north of England.
Women in Print at Dunham Massey is an exhibition at Dunham Massey Hall featuring contemporary, creative responses to the lives of some women that have lived or worked on the estate. The collection will feature work by five outstanding artists working in the north of England including Helen Musselwhite, Lucy Ketchin, Nell Smith, Joanna Houghton and Deanna Halsall.
Jane Bowyer, the creator and curator of Women in Print, says: "We want to bring to life the hidden histories of some of the women who lived and worked at Dunham Massey who, up until now, have had little information shared about them.
"If you walk the halls of most stately homes in England you’re greeted by portraits of important men with important names. Women are often sidelined as wives, mothers and maids and we don’t often talk about the influence these women had. From the Lady of the house to the housemaid, women have played an important part in the story of these places.”
The exhibition is now open to the public during house opening hours and will run until 4 November 2018. Women in Print and Dunham Massey will also be hosting talks, workshops with the artists and other events throughout the year as part of this collaboration.