This exhibition showcases the work of Weston artist Ivy Millicent James (1879-1965), a celebrated postcard artist and active suffragette.
Ivy was born at 1 Atlantic Villas Weston-super-Mare to an artistic family. She was part of the first generation of women to benefit from equal access to arts education, attending the new School of Science and Art in Lower Church Road in 1895. Alongside her older sister Maud, who had studied at the Slade School of Art, she made a name for herself publishing Christmas cards, postcards and calendars. Her designs were part of a postcard boom that spread across Europe at the turn of the 20th century due to the development of mass travel and the growing popularity of summer holiday resorts.
Ivy lived through a time of great change in the role of women and she was among those who fought for slow but steady advances in gender equality. She was a keen suffragette and designed the banner for the Weston-super-Mare branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The two sisters were inseparable and after living in London during the 1920s Ivy moved back to Weston when Maud died in 1930. She lived at 9 Grove Park Road for the ensuing 35 years and whilst there was a frequent visitor at St Margaret’s, the then-children’s home at the junction with Upper Church Road. A Blue plaque is now on 9 Grove Park Road by Weston Town Council & Weston Civic Society.
Today Ivy’s story and her distinctive work remain largely unknown. This exhibition celebrates her remarkable achievement, as well as that of her sister Maud. It features a selection of Ivy’s original watercolours, postcard and Christmas card designs, sketch books and personal effects from the North Somerset Council museum collections.
Open until 9 July 2022