Phil Sayers



This reconstruction of an 1836 portrait by Margaret Carpenter is the first step towards a major suite to examine the work and persona of Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Byron.

She epitomises many things relevant to contemporary post-feminist, post-modern discourses, and is reputed to have written the world’s first ‘computer programme’ in 1843 for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. In recognition of this, a computer language with US military applications is named ‘Ada’ after her.

This seems to defy the gender stereotype of an English aristocratic lady and to question the boundaries of the woman’s realm that she inhabited in the 1830’s and 40’s. How can her gender performance be located according to simple binary positions of male and female?