Maurice Greiffenhagen, The Sirens, 1921_ISANG Collection

- Greiffenhagen was a British painter and Royal Academician. He illustrated books and designed Art Nouveau posters, as well as painting mythological landscapes and characters.

Friends with a number of well-known writers of that era, H. Rider Haggards being one, Greiffenhagen illustrated his popular adventure book She: A History of Adventure 1887. She is placed firmly in the imperialist literature of nineteenth-century England, inspired by Rider Haggard's experiences of South Africa and British colonialism. 

The story expresses numerous racial and evolutionary conceptions typical of the late Victorians.  She, explores the themes of female authority and feminine behaviour at a time when the suffragette movement was in full swing in the UK. The book has received praise and criticism in equal measure. In 1921 when The Sirens was painted Britain had been persuaded to partial voting freedom for women. Full and equal voting capacity came to pass in 1928. The suffrage propaganda posters utilised the Art Nouveau style; a style that romanticised women, presenting connotations of what constitutes femininity from a masculine point of view, thus softening the political content, making it more palatable and persuasive to the masculine status quo. 

The Sirens illustrates in an Art Nouveau style, a scene from Greek mythology whereby beautiful, powerful and deadly women lure sailors with their enchanting voices, seducing them into shipwreck on the rocky coasts.