Raising the portcullis

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Holloway Prison brooch
Designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, c.1909
WOA S694 

Physically supporting the glass discs, and creating New Dawn’s overall shape, is a metal framework resembling a portcullis, the symbol of Parliament.

New Dawn by Mary Branson, 2016
Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Sited above the public route through the Houses of Parliament, the raised portcullis framework symbolises the opening of the democratic process to women.

Early design for New Dawn as a single Venus symbol
Watercolour by Mary Branson, 2014

Combined with the circular glass scrolls, metal crosses on the portcullis framework create the symbol for women known as the ‘Venus symbol’.

Mary Branson in front of New Dawn
Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

"I wanted to create an open portcullis-like structure above the doorway to show that Parliament is now open to women, that we can go in, and that we are here to stay." Mary Branson