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Woman reclining on a beach

Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and the changing status of women in the 1920s

Henry Mayo Bateman (1887-1970)

The Growth of Woman signed & dated 1922

RCIN 926808

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This quickly executed cartoon by Henry Mayo Bateman stands out among the many Dolls’ House works that emphasise traditional feminine roles and the value of domesticity. It is the most overt comment on the changing status of women in Britain. The towering woman stands confidently at ease, unaware of the diminutive figures below, and their awkward attempts to get her attention. Galvanised by the right to vote, and by the financial independence resulting from their employment in factories during the war, many women felt more confident and empowered. Bateman’s contribution is nevertheless ambiguous, and it is unclear whether he is satirising or celebrating these hard-won advances.