A Room of One’s Own invites visitors to explore the galleries housing the museum’s collections and take a closer look at selected works that elicit thoughtful reflection on the role of domesticity in art and the ways of inhabiting a house as a subjectification process from a gender perspective. First of all, we must mention the events to which this tour owes its title: the lectures that Virginia Woolf delivered at Newnham College and Girton College in 1928. Those two lectures grew into the book A Room of One’s Own, the banner of the 20th-century women’s rights movement as well as a seminal analysis of the lack of spaces for female cultural production and creation throughout history. Virginia Woolf concluded that the lack of a private life—a room of one’s own, in both the literal and the allegorical sense— is the primary reason why there is barely any hard evidence of intellectual production by women:

“At the thought of all those women working year after year and finding it hard to get two thousand pounds together, and as much as they could do to get thirty thousand pounds, we burst out in scorn at the reprehensible poverty of our sex. What had our mothers been doing then that they had no wealth to leave us? Powdering their noses? Looking in at shop windows? Flaunting in the sun at Monte Carlo? There were some photographs on the mantelpiece. Mary’s mother—if that was her picture—may have been a wastrel in her spare time (she had thirteen children by a minister of the church), but if so her gay and dissipated life had left too few traces of its pleasures on her face. She was a homely body; an old lady in a plaid shawl which was fastened by a large cameo [...] Now if she had gone into business; had become a manufacturer of artificial silk or a magnate on the Stock Exchange; if she had left two or three hundred thousand pounds to Fernham, we could have been sitting at our ease tonight and the subject of our talk might have been archaeology, botany, anthropology, physics, the nature of the atom, mathematics, astronomy, relativity, geography.”

Tour artworks