Margaret Pilkington was the first female president of the Society (1964-66). She founded the Society’s Arts Section in 1968. After attending Manchester College of Art from 1911-1913, she moved to London to study at the Slade School of Art where she was taught wood engraving by Lucien Pissarro. In 1914 she enrolled at Central College of Arts and Crafts, under the tutelage of Noel Rooke, but with the outbreak of the First World War she returned to Manchester. She was a pioneering supporter of the Arts and concerned with widening public access to galleries and in 1925 she was invited to join the Council of the Whitworth Gallery. She became its Honorary Director from 1936-1959 and was the first female director of a major gallery. She died of breast cancer on 2nd August 1974 aged 82.
We have uploaded two articles from the Society's Memoirs and Proceedings that should be of interest:
Photograph courtesy of John Rylands Library