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Victoria and Albert Museum

Between 1700 and 1900, Britain and London experienced numerous cultural changes concerned with women’s fashion and role of women in the society.  Before 1700, the state did not have set rules to protect the rights of women. Women were subordinated to men, could not work as permanent employees, or hold high positions in any organization. During the period of 1700 to 1900, women started to access permanent and highly paying jobs, compelling the state to acknowledge women’s rights. During this time, there was recognition of gender equality and declined prejudice.  Women could thus have an access to fashionable clothes and could dress elegantly to suit their preferences and tastes. Victoria and Albert Museum has different galleries containing the information about the change in the women life’s condition.

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The above photo from V&A museum galleries represents the women before 1900. The woman in the photo is attending to the child in the house. On the wall, there is another woman’s portrait and another portrait of a man at the bottom. Before 1700, women stayed home and looked after children while attending to other household chores. The portrait of the man on the wall represents her working husband who is away, at work. Man on the portrait is dressed like a king because he meant to be head of the family.

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The picture above, from the museum’s libraries, illustrates a woman displaying her fashionable garment while admiring herself in the mirror. This is a photo was taken after 1900, when women had the freedom of expression their beauty and elegance through the fashion. Unlike the women who lived in the society before 1700, the post 1900 woman could freely express their feelings and beauty with help of fashionable clothes.

This picture shows a woman and her children of the period before 1700.  The woman is entertaining and taking caring of her children as it was the norm for her time. The role of the woman was to bear children, take care of them while carrying out other household chores. During this time though, women could decide how many children they desire to bear.

The drawing above shows a Great Britain’s queen. The period of this picture is dated after 1900. The photo represents the change in women’s role in society. It highlights the dramatic change in culture that eliminates prejudice in societal norms. Moreover, from the photo, it is evident that after 1900, women got more empowered and were allowed to carry higher positions than the men.

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V&A museums galleries contain a wealthy source of information on the history of Britain. The galleries hold information on the changes of London and Britain in general between 1700 and 1900. The above four exhibits explain the changes in conditions of women in the United Kingdom.

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