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Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891), Benefactress of Girton College, Cambridge

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

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.

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P137

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon

by 'Holmes of New York'
ambrotype, 1857 or 1858
On display in Room 42: showcase at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P137

D31926

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon

after Samuel Laurence
collotype, (1861)
NPG D31926