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Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891), Benefactress of Girton College, Cambridge
Sitter in 2 portraits
Born illegitimate to radical parents, she was artistic from an early age, taking lessons from painters and visiting J. M. W. Turner in his studio. She was passionately interested in the role of women. Her pamphlet Women and Work contributed towards the passing of the Married Women's Property Act (1857), giving wives greater financial protection. In the same year she visited Algiers to paint, and met her future husband, a French anthropologist and doctor. In London she had many creative friends, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Mary Ann Evans ('George Eliot'). She played a major role in founding Girton College, Cambridge. Her paintings were frequently exhibited and admired.