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Mary A. Aldham

(active 1910s), Suffragette

Sitter in 1 portrait
The suffragette Mary Wood, an alias of Mary Aldham, attacked John Sargent's portrait of novelist Henry James whilst on display at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition of 1914. Aldham slashed the canvas three times with a meat cleaver while crying 'Votes for Women'. The attack was a response to the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst. In defence of her actions, Wood wrote that 'I have tried to destroy a valuable picture because I wish to show the public that they have no security for their property nor for their art treasures until women are given the political freedom'. Similar attacks on paintings were to follow, although this militant tactic was to subside with the outbreak of the First World War.

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Mary A. Aldham; Ethel Cox, by Unknown photographer - NPG x136418

Mary A. Aldham; Ethel Cox

by Unknown photographer
Criminal Record Office memorandum, Issued 24 April 1914
NPG x136418

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