NPG 968 (2a)
1 of 3
Previous | Next
A typed report by C.J. Holmes, dated 18 July 1914, in which he gives details of the incident.
July 18th, 1914.
At 11.20 yesterday morning I left the Board Room to interview a visitor, when in the corridor I met the Sergeant of Police and Attendant Wilson conducting to the waiting room a woman whose hand had apparently been cut. I asked whether there had been an outrage in the Gallery, and the Sergeant replied, "Yes sir, a serious one". I asked which was the picture; there was no answer for a moment, and then the woman - who by this time had been placed in a chair in the waiting room - answered, "Oh, its the Millais Carlyle". A messenger went to fetch a basin of water to bathe the woman's injured hand, and I went up to the East Wing and saw the damaged picture. Attendant MacNamara, who was in charge of the East Wing, stated that he had been arranging for a student (Miss Payne) to copy the portrait of Lord Tennyson by Watts, and had turned for a moment from the room to make the necessary entry in the book kept in his desk just outside the door. He was writing at the desk when he heard the crash of glass, and on running into the room he found a woman struggling with Miss Payne and Attendant Wilson. The picture of Carlyle was damaged and the weapon used, a butcher's cleaver, was lying on the floor.
Miss Payne was standing close to the Carlyle picture, preparing to copy the Tennyson portrait which hangs next to it, when she saw the woman make a jump from behind her with the cleaver raised. Thinking she herself was about to be attacked she drew back and the woman struck the Carlyle picture with very great force. Miss Payne seized her hand, but the woman who was very strong, threw her aside and struck the picture twice more before Attendant Wilson threw his arms over her head and