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.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Professor in Marketing UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Most Commented

Social media icons

Gabriel Egan laments the narcissistic craving for others’ approval brought on, he says, by the use of social networking websites

Elly Walton illustration (25 August 2016)

Treating students as consumers has precipitated a rush to the bottom to give them exactly what they want, says John Warren

Superhero costumes hanging on a washing line

Senior management do not recognise support staff’s pivotal role in achieving positive student outcomes, administrators say

Man photocopying a book

Students think it ‘unfair’ to be punished for unintentional plagiarism

to write students’ assessed essays in return for cash

Vic Boyd was on the lookout for academic writing opportunities. What she found was somewhat less appetising...