I first encountered Frances Power Cobbe (b.1822) an Irish feminist and political activist, and Mary Lloyd (b1819), a Welsh sculptor when their images were part of an LGBTQ timeline in the form of a washing line for an LGBT welsh history month event in Aberystwyth in 2013.
Frances and Mary were partners for many years. They met in Rome, Italy, lived together in London and ended their years in Dolgellau, Gwynedd, Wales, where they are buried together in a local churchyard. This presentation explores their long partnership and aims to recreate some of the real and imagined conversations they had between themselves and their friends about their lives and passions. It is intended as a contribution to the opening up of Welsh LGBTQ history where there were more border crossings than is commonly supposed and certainly more than one ‘gay’ in the village.
Frances and Mary return from beyond the grave to talk about their lives. They will be inhabiting the bodies of Jane Hoy (Mary) and Helen Sandler (Frances) to talk about their relationship, Frances’s writing, Mary’s art, their joint campaigning for women’s suffrage and the love lives of the ladies of a 19th century artists’ colony in Rome.
”Ours is the old, old story of every uprising race or class or order. The work of elevation must be wrought by ourselves or not at all.” Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904), author and feminist. The Duties of Women, Preface (1882).