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Artist who painted suffragette given honorary doctorate

PUBLISHED: 16:34 21 December 2018

Charlotte Newson. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

Charlotte Newson. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

University of Suffolk

An artist who painted a stunning masterpiece of suffragette movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Suffolk.

Charlotte Newson. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLKCharlotte Newson. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

Charlotte Newson was poignantly presented with the award by the university’s new chancellor Dr Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter.

Mrs Newson took two years to complete the photo-mosaic portrait, which consists of 10,000 individual images of inspiring women sent in by members of the public worldwide. The portrait is the first contemporary artwork of Emmeline Pankhurst and is regarded as one of the most iconic images of the suffragette today.

Mrs Newson’s artwork now stands at the University of Suffolk.

“I have been working as a professional artist for 30 years,” the 57-year-old said.

“Being awarded an honorary doctorate is one of the pinnacles of one’s career.

“The fact the university thought I was worthy of it is immense. It is incredibly exciting. It feels like a 30-year journey has reached one of its most defining milestones.

“The reason my work came about as a digital form mosaic was that I wanted men and women and children to send me images of women, who had impacted their lives in whatever way.

“I wanted to celebrate the extraordinary lives of ordinary women because they go unheard, unsung.”

Women Like You was conceived in Manchester but links firmly to Mrs Newson’s primary school education, where she learned about famous suffragettes such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Millicent Fawcett.

Honorary awards recognise outstanding contributions to education, culture, business and society.

Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote.

In 1903 she, along with her daughter Sylvia and Christabel, founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

She is remembered for her hard work with the WSPU in the fight to help get British women the right to vote.

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