The Modern Women Artists series

The Modern Women Artists series of collectable books reveals an alternative history of art, telling the story of important female artists whose art might otherwise be overlooked, overshadowed or forgotten. Working across a range of disciplines and artistic styles in the first half of the twentieth century, all of the women included in this series were modern. Read together, these books begin to redress the untold history of modern art, connecting stories of female creativity which the history books have all too often left out.

“I’d rather take a picture than be one”: Lee Miller by Ami Bouhassane

Lee Miller (1907-1977) was a fashion model, a photo-journalist and an artist who captured extraordinary moments of modern life.

As model and muse, Miller is too often only considered through the lens of the men she knew and loved. Yet she was an artist who forged her own path and who built a career which overturned expected social stereotypes. Her photography explored in her own unique way the objectification of the female form, and later documented the experience of women during the Second World War.

A contemporary of the British Surrealists, Miller’s contribution to the group is explored in this introduction to her work, as is her involvement in the development of the photographic technique of solorisation, previously solely attributed to Man Ray. Capturing some of the most enduring images of the early twentieth century, Miller’s work offers a record for our times.

Eiderdown Books is an independent publisher making books about female artists written by leading female writers, art historians and cultural commentators.


Ami Bouhassane is co-director of Farley’s House & Gallery Ltd, the organisation that manages the Lee Miller Archives, the Penrose Collection and Farleys House, home of her grandparents Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. She is a trustee of the Lee Miller Archives and has curated exhibitions and lectured widely on both Miller and Penrose, having worked extensively with their material for over 20 years. Recent publications include her biographical recipe book’Lee Miller: A Life with Food, Friends & Recipes’ (2017), and the essay ‘Lee Miller and the Mermaid’, written for the exhibition catalogue Photographer Lee Miller: The Liberation of Denmark, May 1945, which was presented at The Museum of National History at Frederiksberg in 2018

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Harriet Olsen is the founder of Eiderdown Books. She established the independent publishing house specialising in books about women artists after more than a decade in museum publishing (and having lost count of the number of books she’d produced about male artists). Harriet is also Head of Publishing at Pallant House Gallery in Sussex.

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