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Saunders, Shepherd & Co Suffragette Muffineers

Considering the cost of silver and the craftsmanship involved, it is likely that Saunders, Shepherd and Co. likely created suffragette muffineers in a limited edition.[1] Contemporary Saunders and Shepherd production costs were approximately ten shillings. The muffineer would therefore have been marketed for approximately thirty shillings.[2] They were produced for a community and a cause which embraced souvenirs.

Between 1908-12 an enormous variety of goods and literature were sold concerning the suffrage cause.[3] Large suffrage societies including the WSPU had commercial outlets in London and other provinces. By 1911 there were 17 shops in London and a further fifteen outside of London.[4] Items often had 'Votes for Women' marked across them; soap, tea sets and children's dolls were just some of the household goods sold.[5] Politically charged objects like the muffineer created an active political space in the home, rather than being just a passive expression of political and cultural consumption.[6] Many items were advertised by the Women's Press and in newspapers including Votes for Women.[7] The advent of new and cheaper products meant societies earned large revenues from the advertising opportunity which these provided. 'Votes for Women' developed as a brand name as much as an ideology.[8]

Denied a political voice by government and political parties, suffragists sought validation in the commercial realm, one of the few arenas in which they could gain widespread recognition.[9] Suffrage goods, just like other political memorabilia, celebrate the unity of the movement.[10] Material souvenirs also provided the momentum to enforce WSPU ideology at a time when it was rejected by the echelons of society.[11] Suffragists could visually confront their opponents, which, in conjunction with the slogan 'we can make things hot for you', this muffineer achieves by embodying the visual spectacle of the cause.[12]

References
[1] Irene Cockroft, (hotshot@blueyonder.co.uk) (19 June 2008) 'Re: Harriet Boothman from Irene Cockroft, London, 19/6/08' email to Harriet Boothman, (hboothman@museum.vic.gov.au).
[2] Irene Cockroft, 'Transcript of Irene Cockroft's phone interview with Mr. Tony Shepherd'. Irene Cockroft (hotshot@blueyonder.co.uk) (8 June 2008) 'Harriet from Irene, London, 8/7/08' email to Harriet Boothman (hboothman@ugrad.unimelb.edu.au).
[3] Bradley, 'Women's Suffrage Souvenirs', 82.
[4] Bradley, 'Women's Suffrage Souvenirs', 82.
[5] Mark Morrisson, 'Marketing British Modernism: The Ego-ist and Counter-Public Spheres' Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 4, (Winter 1997), 443.
[6] Helen Clifford, Silver in London: The Parker and Wakelin Partnership 1760-1776 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 177.
[7] Bradley, 'Women's Suffrage Souvenirs', 82.
[8] Morrisson, 'Marketing British Modernism' 443.
[9] Finnegan, Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women, 113.
[10] Finnegan, Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women, 115.
[11] Finnegan, Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women, 115.
[12] Finnegan, Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women, 125.

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