Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communication

Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

Rights, Justice, Faith: The Work of Emily Susan Ford

Painting of a flying figure by Emily Ford.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
Parkinson Building
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

The story of Emily Ford is one of shifting beliefs, colliding ideologies and unexpected connections.

Ford was a painter of the Pre-Raphelite style working and living in Leeds from the mid 19th to the early 20th century. Although her painting technique and style remained quite constant throughout her life, what she chose to paint changed along side her ever evolving beliefs. How and why did Ford’s journey unfold?

Start in our exhibition in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and explore Ford’s fascinating biography. Here you can pick up a leaflet and follow the short route we have mapped out to The Great Hall to discover five of her impressive, large scale works.

Ford’s religious and ideological beliefs changed significantly throughout her life: socialist to Spiritualist to Anglican. One thing that remained steadfast, however, was her dedication to women’s rights activism. Swaying from her socialist doctrine to the budding Victorian Spiritualist movement, Ford took her commitment for social reform to new and unexpected places.

This exhibition, using collections from the University of Leeds, uncovers how these beliefs (which at first might seem completely apposed) share much more than you might expect.

This display is part of a wider series of exhibitions and projects undertaken by MA students as part of an Interpretations module. Join us at the launch event for all 10 projects on Thursday 13 December: see here for full details.

Image: Emily S. Ford, Flying Figure (Towards Dawn), University of Leeds Art Collection.

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