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Becoming George: the Unexpected Life of George Eliot

Published on Wednesday, 8th May 2019

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery 10 May – 14 July 2019

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery celebrates the bicentenary of locally born novelist, George Eliot, in this new exhibition.

When Mary Anne Evans was born at South Farm, in Arbury, no-one would have thought that she would grow up to be an internationally successful writer.  She was born in 1819, into a time when women had fewer rights than men. As a woman, certain jobs were unavailable to her - she couldn’t study for a degree and couldn’t vote.  None of her family were writers and her father started life as a carpenter. This exhibition provides a glimpse into Mary Anne’s story and explains how her unexpected life developed.  How did Mary Anne become George Eliot?

The show includes items from the museum’s collections which aren’t usually on show including a dress and boots once worn by the writer.  Other highlights are a letter written by Eliot when she was a young woman living at Coventry and a pendant she picked up on her travels. The exhibition features a specially created soundtrack, corsets to try on, a chance to try your hand at working a butter churn and specially sourced smells that are evocative of George Eliot’s life.

Sim Fine Art have kindly loaned their portrait of the novelist which recently featured on the back of the Cambridge Companion to George Eliot, 2nd edition.

Cllr Ian Lloyd, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture says:

“It’s great to see the Borough’s favourite daughter brought to life in this new display.  I hope visitors from near and far will take the opportunity to find out more about the world famous novelist in this her bicentenary year.”

Remember, as with all our shows, admission is FREE.