© National Portrait Gallery, London
Louisa Katherine Stewart (née Smyly); Mrs Ahok; Robert Warren Stewart
by Unknown photographer Click on the links below to find out more
albumen print, 1895 or before
8 in. x 5 7/8 in. (204 mm x 149 mm) image size
Given by Martin Plaut, 2012
Mrs Ahok is shown in traditional Chinese dress. She was often seated because she had very tiny feet due to footbinding as a child. The practice of footbinding involved bending the toes backwards so that they reached the arch of the underside of the foot. The feet were bound up tightly which restricted growth and caused the bones to deform into a 'lotus' shape which was considered to be beautiful and a sign of a noblewoman. Women, such as Mrs Ahok, who were subjected to this process would have endured pain in their feet and found it incredibly difficult to walk, being able to take only tiny steps at a slow pace which was considered a desirable trait of a good Chinese woman.
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest
is first performed, the same year that he is imprisoned for homosexual offences following accusations made against him by the eighth Marquess of Queensbury. Whilst in prison, Wilde wrote De Profundis
, a letter addressed to his former lover, Queensbury's son Lord Alfred Douglas, attacking him for his role in Wilde's imprisonment. Prime Minister Lord Rosebery resigns and is succeeded by Salisbury.
Art and science
The Lumiere brothers hold the first public screening of movies at Paris's Salon Indien du Grand Café, featuring ten short films recorded with Leon Bouly's cinematographe device, recognised as the birth of cinema as a commercial medium.Henry Irving, the celebrated actor and theatre manager, becomes the first actor to receive a knighthood.
In South Africa, prompted by the growing unrest of unfranchised British immigrants (Uitlanders) drawn to the Transvaal by the discovery of gold, Rhodes and other members of the South African mining community begin to plot the republic's overthrow. As a result, the disastrous Jameson Raid takes place, carried out on Paul Kruger's Transvaal Republic by Leander Starr Jameson and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen: it fails to bring about an Uitlander uprising.