In 1971 Linda Nochlin wrote an essay called ‘Why are there no great women artists?’

She didn’t mean there weren’t any, but that we find it hard to name them. Have a think – you know Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh and Picasso, but how many great women artists can you name?

I’ve been working with Tate Publishing on a beautifully illustrated book about great women in art called The Bigger Picture. Well, after this book, it will be a lot more! The illustrations are by the very talented Manjit Thapp, whose work I love.

You can buy it from the Tate Online Shop or order it from your local bookshop. With 57 double colour pages, this one is sooooooo beautiful.


Women have been making great art for thousands of years, but most of them have been anonymous. Dealing with mental health issues, fear of failure and pressures of race and gender, they have used their struggles to make great art. From Frida Kahlo to Yayoi Kusama, they all have stories to give you hope and make you aspire to change the world, the way they changed it for us.

The Bigger Picture describes the amazing lives and process of over 30 female artists, many of whom are alive today. Several of them even did interviews for the book. And it’s thanks to the work of lots of other women that we know so much more about them than we used to – the curators, writers and collectors who have helped put women on the art map, where they belong. I’m so pleased that Linda Nochlin herself made it into the book too.

This is what Cindy Sherman had to say when we asked her …

You can find out more about the amazing process of working with an illustrator on my blog post for ABBA, all about what I learned from working with Manjit.

I also wrote for the History Girls blog about some of the details of my research that didn’t make it into the book – and why rejection and anxiety are just the start of inspiring stories.

And if you’d like to see a video Tate Kids made highlighting some of the artists in The Bigger Picture, check it out.

Here’s some advice from Lubaina Himid …

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