People living in the decades either side of 1900 witnessed significant changes in society, science and culture. The portraits in this room represent those who were at the forefront of some of these changes, confronting traditional thinking and challenging established identities. These individuals include writers and artists, politicians and public health reformers, as well as activists who fought for women’s rights and people who championed diverse sexual identities. Many of these sitters cultivated a cosmopolitan character. This is reflected in their portraits, which bear the hallmarks of European Modernism, particularly the style and techniques of the French Post-Impressionists. Photography became an increasingly important medium for portraiture too, often rivalling painting in its power of expression.