Mary Lowndes (1856–1929)[nb 1] was a British stained-glass artist who co-founded Lowndes and Drury, the partnership that built The Glass House studio, Fulham. She was also a poster artist, in particular connected with her active participation in the suffragette movement. Lowndes was a leading light in the Arts and Crafts movement and chair of the Artists' Suffrage League (ASL).
Her companion was Barbara Forbes, the secretary of the Artists' Suffrage League founded by Lowndes.
Lowndes studied art in London at the Slade School of Fine Art. After school she designed stained glass works, arranged for her own commissions, and had the works made by James Powell and Sons. Until he started his own studio, Lowndes did some work with Powell's head stained glass designer Henry Holiday. She then began work in Southwark as a stained glass artist for Britton and Gilson, a firm which developed Norman Glass, a slab glass that was used by Christopher Whall and his followers.
In 1897, with the then foreman of the firm, Alfred J. Drury, she founded Lowndes & Drury at 35 Park Walk, Chelsea. In 1906 they founded the Glass House in Lettice Street, Fulham. The building at 9, 10, 11 and 12 Lettice Street was established as a stained-glass studio for works commissioned by Lowndes and Drury and for use by independent artists. It was a purpose-built stained-glass studio and workshop designed by Christopher Whall and Alfred Drury.
Lowndes designed, coloured and created Arts and Crafts stained-glass works. She taught many female stained-glass designers and artists, such as Wilhelmina Geddes. The Glass House attracted many artists, like Geddes, Whall, Robert Anning Bell and more. The artists could leverage the skills of other artists at the studio and yet obtain their own commissions. Lowndes' partner, Alfred Drury, particularly focused on the creation of stained-glass pieces. Together they commissioned for design, painting and creation projects.
In 1899 Mary Lowndes attended the International Congress of Women in London.
In January 1907, Lowndes established The Artists' Suffrage League (ASL) to create dramatic posters, postcards, Christmas cards, and banners for suffrage events. She became its chair and Forbes, her companion, was the secretary.
Artwork by Lowndes and the League may be seen at The Women's Library at the Library of the London School of Economics. Even underwear in suffragette colours appeared in stores. Between 1903 and 1914 the methods used by the women's suffrage movement began to change and they began to engage in public demonstrations and other propaganda activities. Lowndes' training as a stained-glass designer encouraged the use of bold shapes and a love of full, rich colours, using striking combinations of green and blue, magenta and orange.
The following is a partial list of her works, including those as part of the Lowndes and Drury partnership.
Lowndes & Drury, She hath done what she could, 1901, St Peter's Church, Henfield, West Sussex