Mesmerism, Mediumship, Magic and the Mystical: Britain’s Visionary Sisters in Art

In this richly illustrated talk Vivienne will share her research and take us on a journey that spans the Century, beginning with the start of the Modern Spiritualist Movement and ending with the Festival of Britain in 1951. Along the way we will encounter some of the incredible women who fought against societal constraints and found an innovative outlet for their verve and creativity. They were true visionaries in that they not only drew visions of the otherworldly, but envisioned with clarity a new purpose for their art and lives. It was not a path for the faint hearted as some of the obstacles these intriguing and fearless women had to overcome were ridicule, persecution, and fear of being committed to an asylum or prosecuted under Britain’s archaic witchcraft laws. Among the artists in the talk will be Anna Howitt Watts, Georgiana Houghton, Ethel le Rossignol, Florence Seth and Madge Gill.


Vivienne Roberts is the curator and archivist at The College of Psychic Studies in London, where she cares for their large collection of spirit inspired art, photographs and artefacts from 1850 to the present day. This unusual archive, along with the College’s specialist esoteric library, has offered Vivienne the opportunity to immerse herself in a wealth of primary material and has been instrumental in helping her curate a series of large exhibitions, including: Encounters with the Spirit World (2016), Art & Spirit: Visions of Wonder (2019), Strange Things Among Us (2021) and Creative Spirits (2022). Vivienne’s art specialism is the history of mediumistic art with particular attention to its women practitioners. She has established the websites, and and has published several articles and exhibition catalogue contributions. Vivienne is a member of the Visionary Women Research Group and the British Art Network.

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Jun 15th 2023 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

£5 - £10 & By Donation

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