25 January 2024, 19:00

Annabelle Hirsch on A History of Women in 101 Objects

We're thrilled to welcome Annabelle Hirsch to discuss her fascinating and provocative new book A History of Women in 101 Objects.

Free & open to all. Places limited. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.


This is a neglected history. Not a sweeping, definitive, exhaustive history of the world but something quieter, more intimate and particular. A single journey, picked out in 101 objects, through the fascinating, too-often-overlooked, manifold histories of women.

Open up this cabinet of curiosities and you'll find objects that have been highly esteemed – even, like the Bayeux tapestry, fought over by nations – and others that are humble and domestic. Some (like a 16th century glass dildo) are objects of female pleasure, some (a thumbscrew) of female subjugation. There are artefacts of women celebrated by history and of women unfairly forgotten by it; examples of female rebellion and of self-revelation; objects that are inspiring, curious or (like radium-laced chocolate) just fundamentally ill-conceived.

Through the variety and nuance in all these 101 objects, Annabelle Hirsch has created a new history - teeming, unexpected, witty and always illuminating. This overdue corrective reveals what a healed femur says about civilisation, what men have to fear from hat pins, and it shows that the past has always been as complicated and fascinating as the women that peopled it.

Annabelle Hirsch was born in 1986, has German and French roots. She studied art history, dramatics and philosophy in Munich and Paris, and worked as a freelance journalist

"An ambitious project, wide in scope, idiosyncratic in approach . . . The power of this book is cumulative; read as a whole it becomes increasingly affecting. At its heart it is about female pain, female bravery and female creativity" ― Sunday Times

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Hirsch Annabelle c Tanja Kernweiss
“Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.”

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