Mary Somerville & Ada Lovelace
These two wall hangings are samples for a collection celebrating Victorian women of science with a Scottish connection. Madeleine has a background in maths and science and has been an active campaigner encouraging more young women to study science. She finds Mary and Ada inspiring subjects for her textile work
Mary Somerville (1780-1872) struggled to educate herself in maths and science growing up in Burntisland but achieved success and recognition in spite of the restrictions of her time. Among many other things, she was engaged as tutor to Ada Lovelace (1815-1852).
As Mary's student, Ada was introduced to Charles Babbage and worked on the theoretical side of his plans for advanced calculating machines. For her ideas in this field, she is often referred to as the world's first computer programmer. The technology for controlling these machines was inspired by punched card mechanisms in textile production which brings us back to Madeleine's knitted digital portraits.