Society of Women Artists
- For the Scottish Society of Women Artists, see Visual Arts Scotland.
The Society of Women Artists is a British art body dedicated to promoting art by women.
The Society was founded in 1855 as the Society of Female Artists and held its first exhibition two years later. The Society has since held an annual exhibition in London of work by women artists.
In the mid-nineteenth century, women were not considered as serious artists and had great difficulty in obtaining public showings. At the Society's first exhibition, 149 women showed 358 works, some concealing their true identities for fear of social recrimination. The Society was involved in education for women artists, who were effectively excluded from professional training by the mores of the time.
In 1869 there was a name change to the Society of Lady Artists. In 1899 the present name was adopted, The Society of Women Artists.
The Society has had many distinguished women artists among its members and a complete listing of exhibitors from 1855 to 1996 has been published in a four-volume dictionary collated from old catalogues.
The Society's current patron is Princess Michael of Kent.
- Charles Baile De Laperriere, Society of Women Artists Exhibitors, 1855-1996: A Dictionary of Artists and Their Work in the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Women Artists. Hilmarton Manor Press, 1997 1544 pp. ISBN 0-904722-30-9 ISBN 978-0-904722-30-7