W&N acquire THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE: 500 YEARS OF WOMEN’S SELF PORTRAITS, a major new art history from the editor of FRIEZE magazine Jennifer Higgie

Jennifer HiggieUntil the 20th century, art history was, in the main, written by white, western men who tended to write about other white, western men. The idea that women in the West have always made art was rarely cited as a possibility. Yet, they have – and, of course, continue to do so – often against tremendous odds, from laws to religion and the pressures of family and public disapproval. Feminism has shaken up the story of art and, for the first time, cast light on the often-brilliant work by women artists who were often ignored, patronised or marginalised. These artists embody the fact that there is more than one way to understand our planet, more than one way to live in it and more than one way to make art about it.

In THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE, Jennifer Higgie introduces us to a cross-section of extraordinary women artists from the 16th to the 20th centuries, using their self-portraits as a springboard to examine how and why they became artists and what their self-representation reveals about the times in which they lived.

Intertwining biography and cultural history, and packed with tales of rebellion, adventure, revolution, travel and tragedy enacted by women who turned their back on convention and lived lives of great resilience, creativity and bravery, THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE will be a dazzlingly original and ambitious book by one of the most well-respected art critics at work today.

Jenny Lord, Publisher of Weidenfeld & Nicolson Non-fiction, acquired World rights from David Godwin in an exclusive deal.

Jenny Lord says: ‘I have long admired Jennifer’s approach to art writing, and we are delighted to be publishing her first work of non-fiction. THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE promises to be a fascinating and epic journey through the history of women painting themselves, and a radically fresh approach to writing about art’

Jennifer Higgie says: ‘I could not be more thrilled to sign with Weidenfeld & Nicolson for THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE. I look forward to honouring the lives of these extraordinary women, many of whom defied convention to create self-portraits that reveal so much – not just about themselves, but about the society that produced them’

Jennifer Higgie is the London-based editorial director and staff writer of FRIEZE magazine and FRIEZE MASTERS. She is also a screenwriter, the editor of a collection of writings on art and humour, THE ARTIST’S JOKE; a novel, BEDLAM, and a children’s book, THERE’S NOT ONE.

THE MIRROR AND THE PALETTE by Jennifer Higgie will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback and ebook in March 2021.

For all rights enquiries please contact the Orion rights team rights.enquiries@orionbooks.co.uk.