NPG 1767 (1c)

 

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Copy of article from The Times, dated 5 May 1914, reporting the attack on the portrait, then on display at the Royal Academy, by the suffragette Mary Wood.
  Article from The Times

Extent of the Damage

The picture is very severely damaged, but it is hoped that it may be possible to restore it. Mr. Lamb, the secretary of the Academy, told a representative of The Times that the picture was greatly admired by the King on Sunday during his informal visit. He could not say at at present what would be done. Pictures were not insured and hung at the artist's or the owner's risk. "I think" he added, 'that in future artists will require to paint their pictures on armour plate."

The suffragist, Mrs Mary Wood, was bought before Mr. Denman at Marlborough-street Police Court later in the afternoon and charged with wilfully damaging the picture. She is an old woman with white hair and wore a loose purple overcloak, in the ample folds of which a much larger implement than the chopper which was produced in Court, could have been hidden. Her behaviour throughout the proceedings was quiet,

Mr Maskett prosecuted.
Mr Stuart Boyd, an artist, who was present at the time of the outrage described how he heard the smash and saw the prisoner deliver her second and third blows. He and another man at once restrained her.

On being asked if she had any question to put Mrs Wood declared in a loud voice, "No, thankyou. There is really no good to go on. I acknowledge that I did it - as a protest." The prisoner later repeated this statement.

Another artist, an attendant from the Academy, and Police-constable Rabbetts, who made the arrest, then gave evidence. The constable said that in the hall the woman stated, "If they only gave women the vote this would never have happened,' and added,
"What about Sir Edward Carson?"
The prisoner (interrupting), - And Mr. Bonar Law, Mr. Walter Lamb, secretary of the Royal Academy. said that the picture measured 3ft by 2ft., and so far as the Academy was concerned was the property of Mr. Sargent. He valued it at about £700. He thought that it could be repaired. It was difficult to assess the damage, but he put it between £100 and £200.

The prisoner was understood to say that if the picture had been painted by a woman its value would have been less than £700. She was committed for trial at the London Sessions.