Sylvia Pankhurst is mostly remembered as a suffragette and then as a socialist politician.  Her work as an artist is often overlooked. After studying at the Manchester School of Art she attended the Royal College of Art.

Sylvia’s artwork and imagery gave the Women’s Social and Political Union its coherent visual identity. The WSPU is thought to be the first campaigning body ever to use design and colour to create a corporate identity, though Sylvia was not the only artist involved. She designed flags, banners and gifts for sale, and used her artistic skills to decorate halls and meeting rooms for the Suffragettes. She also produced artwork when in prison including this self portrait.

Sylvia Pankhurst Self Portrait


The Holloway Brooch was designed by Sylvia in about 1909. It comprises a portcullis symbol of the House of Commons, the gate and hanging chains in silver and the superimposed broad arrow in purple, white and green enamel. It was referred to in the paper ‘Votes for Women’, 16 April 1909, and first presented to ex-suffragette prisoners at a mass demonstration at the Albert Hall on 29 April 1909.

Holloway Brooch

For more information about Sylvia and her life visit For some background to the 2013 exhibition of her work at the Tate Gallery click here