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Drawing for Peace

4 March 09

A unique and fascinating glimpse at the personalities involved in 1930s politics, pacifism and the arts will be go on show at Gallery II at the University of Bradford on Friday, 6 March, 2009.

The exhibition, which will open on the day of the University's PeaceJam, shows pencil drawings made by Peggy Smith while she was working freelance for newspapers in the 1930s.

It is the first time that most of these original sketches have been on show for the public. The exhibition highlights Peggy Smith's sensitive, sometimes light-hearted, and passionate response to the individuals she sketched.  They include Gandhi and others of his circle, well known peace makers such as Dick Sheppard and Vera Brittain, and literary, political and artistic celebrities of the time. 

Curator of the exhibition and Special Collections Librarian at the University, Alison Cullingford, said: "We are delighted to exhibit Peggy's work at Gallery II.  The exhibition highlights the rich heritage of peace art at the University and at Bradford's Peace Museum.

"The presence of many Nobel peace laureates, including Norman Angell, Arthur Henderson and Cordell Hull, forms a pleasing link with PeaceJam, set up to bring Nobel peace prize winners together with young people."

The sketches are held by the Commonweal Library and are cared for by Special Collections at the University.

Drawing for Peace opens Friday 6 March 2009 and runs until Friday 3 April 2009.

Gallery II opening times are Monday to Friday, 11am - 5pm (until 6pm on Thursdays) and at other times by arrangement.  Admission is free. For more information, call 01274 235495, email or visit

Notes to Editors

Peggy Smith (1895-1976)

Peggy dedicated her adult life to working for peace.  Born in London to an artistic and musical family, she was stricken with spinal tuberculosis aged three, and had to spend much of her childhood and teens in a spinal carriage. 

Interested in pacifist ideas even before World War I, the devastating effect of the War, particularly the loss of many family and friends, made her decide to work for peace.  Post-War, she gave up art school to work for the League of Nations Union.
Her health was however too poor for such work and in 1929 she had to give it up.  Fenner Brockway saw her sketching him at a lecture, was impressed with her work, and later offered her work on the Independent Labour Party journal he edited, 'The New Leader'. 

In the 1930s, she worked freelance for several newspapers, quickly sketching people who were in the news, particularly pacifists and musicians, when lecturing or performing in concert. She was one of the first women to sign the Peace Pledge in 1936.  After World War II, her art took second place to peace work: she sold 'Peace News' on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for many years.  In later life, her 1930s work was rediscovered: an exhibition, 'Line and Music' showcasing her sketches of musicians was held at the Royal Festival Hall in 1975.

4 March 09

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Further information for Media Enquirers

For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail or fax on (01274) 236280.