© 2019 SWA

Registered Charity No. 298241




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The Society of Women Artists (SWA) is a British art body and registered charity, and has had a unique history dedicated to promoting art by women. It was founded as the Society of Female Artists (SFA) in about 1855, offering women artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their works which they had otherwise been denied. Annual exhibitions have been held in London since 1857. The Society enjoys royal patronage from HRH Princess Michael of Kent.

The society has had many notable artists among its members. Dame Laura Knight, the first woman Royal Academician, was elected president in 1932 and retained that office until she retired in 1968 to become a Patron. Membership of the SWA is composed of a maximum of 150 members. They promote new artists and encourage non-members to show their work at their annual exhibition.


“I feel incredibly honoured to be the president of The Society of women artists. Since its advent, the SWA has created a great and much needed platform for some of the most outstanding female artists to showcase their work. At a time of the greater imbalance in gender representation within the art world, the society played an instrumental role to redress this balance. However, today, in the words of our former president Sue Jelley, The Society of women artists has become a modern tradition and it is here to stay.


SWA’s young people’s initiative aims to encourage and nurture young talented artists to fulfil their potential. While, the collaboration with our chosen charities will continue to help those in need. 

I am proud to say that through the sheer hard work of determined, dedicated and passionate past presidents the society has gone from strength to strength and we intend to continue to delight our audiences with vibrant and dynamic exhibitions for many years to come.”

Soraya French
President SWA