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Constance Armfield (1876 - 1941)

Smedley [married name Armfield], (Annie) Constance, author and founder of the International Lyceum Clubs, was born in Trinity Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, on 20 June 1876, the elder daughter and first among the three children of William Thomas Smedley (1851–1934), a chartered accountant, and his wife, Annie Elizabeth (1851–1923), daughter of William Duckworth, a Birmingham coffee merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth Seaborn (1776–1854).Smedley began her education at home before attending King Edward VI High School for Girls and Birmingham School of Art. Her severe physical disability, probably caused by childhood polio—which confined her to crutches, and, from her mid-thirties, to a wheelchair—rarely prevented her from pursuing her ambitions, or attracting admiring attention. She excelled at art school, publishing her first illustration, in Pall Mall Magazine, at sixteen, yet her interests shifted toward writing for the theatre.


Damsels in a Wood, 1916
Constance Armfield
Damsels in a Wood, 1916  Sold