Sylvia Pankhurst .com - an Interactive Learning Resource
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SYLVIA'S PAINTING CAREER

The paintings and illustrations of both William Morris and Walter Crane had a strong influence on Sylvia Pankhurst's output as a painter and designer. Her artistic career was outlived, however, by her political activities.

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Sylvia won a host of awards at the Manchester School of Art before gaining a 2-year scholarship (with the distinction of having the highest grades of any candidate), to study at the RCA in South Kensington (1904–06). At that time, in the RCA's Painting School where she was studying, it was practice to award only one scholarship a year to a woman. In 1905 Sylvia persuaded Keir Hardie to bring this up in the House of Commons! At Parliamentary Question Time, he was told that of a total of 16 scholarships at the RCA each year, only 3 could be awarded to women: and that no good reason was seen to change this.