Manchester Art Gallery

Illusions

Object description

Half-length portrait of a young girl with blonde hair, dressed in a suit of armour and chain mail with her hands raised to her chest in gesture. There is a background of dense trees with dappled sunlight falling on the girl from the left. A bird sits on the girl's right shoulder with a ploom that extends dramatically to the chest area, the girl has a red blanket wrapped round her right arm.

Display label

Illusions probably 1902 Annie Louisa Swynnerton 1844-1933 Oil on canvas The strange hand gestures and the dagger-like wing tip give further mysterious significance to this clear-eyed being. She looms from the woods like a vision. The illusions referred to in the title are ambiguous. In 1903, the year after Annie Swynnerton exhibited this painting, the campaign for women’s suffrage became militant. At this time, any young girl’s vision of her future as one of independent womanhood seemed likely to be an illusion. Louisa Mary Garrett bequest 1936.207