The Three Graces’ – Lewes Community Football Club

The Three Graces’

The Three Graces’

Women's football news

Written by: Jack

What does a football club do when it signs three players called Grace to its women’s team?

Well, if it’s Lewes FC – famous for campaigning for gender equality in football and championing female empowerment across the globe – it throws up a fun and powerful idea.

Our pioneering football club – also dubbed ‘Equality FC’ – decided to reimagine Rubens’ famous painting ‘The Three Graces’, using its very own muses: defenders Grace Garrad and Grace Riglar, and midfielder, Grace Palmer.

In Reubens painting we see the Graces in a countryside idyll, naked, arms entwined, and dreamily enjoying the shade of a tree as Eros watches on. Lewes FC’s Graces are not passive or subject to the male gaze however, and are clothed (of course) in their Lewes FC kit. In their picture, taken up on the nearby Sussex Downs by local photographer Lily Bushnell, the young women have agency and have named their own values.

‘For me football is about Resilience’, says Grace Garrad, ‘so that’s what I’m representing’. Whilst teammate Grace Riglar explained,’ I feel Freedom when I play football. I don’t have to think about anything else. I love that Freedom. That’s what I want to represent’. Whilst Grace Palmer said, ‘To me football is my life and I play for the social aspect. I want to represent Friendship.’

Club Ambassador Karen Dobres said, ‘At Lewes FC we use football as a vehicle for social change, so to use our three Graces to change old-fashioned and restrictive ideas about what a woman should aspire to be seemed a no brainer. Our Graces are expressing their own values from their own perspectives, and they are outstanding footballers and role models.’

One of Lewes FC’s Sisterships, Women in Art (an art gallery based in Lewes and profiling women working in the art industry), will show the new portrait in their upcoming show ‘The Dreaming’.

Gallery owner Sarah Norris commented, ‘I’m delighted to have this reimagining of The Three Graces as part of the WIA Open show, ‘The Dreaming’. It embodies women who are proud, strong and confident in their bodies, not side-lined as passive muses. In 2023 we’re still fighting for equality – this image asks the viewer to look at women through a different lens, literally.

Lettings agency Ashton Burkinshaw, have sponsored the creation of the new photographic portrait. Senior Branch Manager, Rebecca Bredin said ‘We’re great fans of Lewes FC and its equality campaign.

“We love how the club consistently associates football with culture and community, and are proud to sponsor the new Three Graces’.”