Discover the lives of 18th-century women who stepped outside of traditional female roles, risking physical perils and public outrage in disguising themselves as men.
Chawton House’s 2020 exhibition highlights stories of women who stepped into male roles. By picking up a pen, pistol or sword, they broke with convention to survive and thrive. Out of necessity or choice, to seek glory or escape the fetters of a restrictive life – there were those who kept control over their inheritance, unashamedly sought fame, adopted fake names, took to the high seas, or even joined the army.
Disregarding the confines of societal expectation, these pioneering women harnessed their fate and sought control over their narrative. Chawton House holds many of these accounts within the collection, some true, others fictional, all fascinating.