Odds and quads

This striking black costume was used in The Brilliant and the Dark, a cantata for female voices composed for the National Federation of Women's Institutes by Australian composer Malcolm Williamson to a libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

December 2, 2010




Performed by 1,000 volunteers at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, its panoramic narrative ran from the Middle Ages to the Second World War via characters including embroiderers, plague victims and war workers.

The dress is part of the Women's Institutes archive, held in the Women's Library at London Metropolitan University, the oldest and most extensive collection of women's history in Europe. The library's 500 archives contain more than 8,000 objects and 60,000 books and pamphlets dating back to 1592.

A key resource for a range of research, its central focus is on campaigns for women's suffrage, illustrated here by a scroll awarded to Alice Stewart Ker on her release from Holloway Prison. She had spent three months in solitary confinement for vandalising Harrods as part of the Votes for Women struggle.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Library Systems Manager YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Chair in Law UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL (MAIN OFFICE)
User Acceptance Testing Technician CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Globalisation

Times Higher Education World University Rankings data reveal the top 200 most outward-looking institutions

Common cactus finch (Geospiza scandens)

Tiffany Taylor on a thought-provoking view of the forces acting to ensure survival

Stressed businessman answering four telephones

Some surveys show faculty putting in at least 60 hours a week, but research casts doubt on whether this is a productive routine

Student asking question during class

University of Reading research finds link between undergraduate satisfaction and ethnicity of lecturers

Level of quality compass

Authors argue this means universities should spend less on senior academics and give promising younger scholars more of a chance