The life and times of a great but undervalued woman artist of the early twentieth century are the subjects of a major exhibition coming to Shrewsbury in 2016.
Margaret Agnes Rope was born in Shrewsbury in 1882 and lived in the town most of her public life, created beautifully jewelled stained glass windows for churches all over the world; being heavily influenced by the later Arts & Crafts Movement.
Her achievements have been under-valued down the years, possibly because she was fiercely independent, eschewing patronage. As a young woman, she defied convention, riding motor-bikes and smoking cheroots.
In her late teens, she converted to Catholicism, and thus lost out on a fortune – which she would have received in a family inheritance if she had remained Anglican. Without a patron, unmarried, without family money, she had to rely on her talent alone.
At the age of forty, she entered a convent – where, with the permission of the prioress, she continued to produce great stained glass works.
‘Marga’ as she was known left hardly any records or correspondence behind her, which might explain why so few art-historians have taken much interest in profiling her work. So, exhibition organisers have initiated new researches – which have unearthed new and surprising facts about this visionary artist, including the discoveries of previously uncatalogued works.
The ‘Margaret Agnes Rope Life & Times’ exhibition, which takes place at Shrewsbury Museum in the autumn and winter of 2016, will be the first to be devoted solely to her achievements. Many of the artefacts on show will be being seen for the first time in public.
Shrewsbury Museum, Market Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1LG
Tel: 01743 258885
For details of the exhibition, see: http://www.shrewsburymuseum.org.uk/events/?c24event=EVENT532611