1 of 16 portraits of Emmeline Pankhurst
by Georgina Agnes Brackenbury
oil on canvas, 1927
31 in. x 24 1/4 in. (787 mm x 616 mm)
Given by Memorial Committee, 1929
This portraitback to top
The leader of the militant movement for women's suffrage, in 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union with her daughter Christabel. Imprisoned for militant action on numerous occasions between 1908-1914, she was released after hunger-striking. During the First World War she observed the militants' truce and took little part in the campaigns leading to the first instalment of women's suffrage in 1918. Given by a Memorial Committee, 1929.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- 100 Pioneering Women, p. 91 Read entry
Leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) gained a lifelong awareness of women’s low status in society, and personal experience of struggling to stay afloat, on the sudden death in 1898 of her husband, Richard Pankhurst, a radical barrister. In 1889, she had become involved in founding the Women’s Franchise League. Disheartened at creeping inertia around the cause, in 1903 she established, with her daughters, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), with its motto ‘Deeds not Words’. Dubbed ‘suffragettes’ (by the Daily Mail, around 1906), the WSPU favoured more militancy. Their tactics, which eventually included arson and bombing, were more public than those of the ‘suffragists’ – members of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), which had been formed in 1897. Between 1908 and 1913, Pankhurst was regularly imprisoned in Holloway, London, and released after hunger strikes. The 1918 declaration of suffrage for women saw her ambition partially realised; 1928, the year she died, brought the declaration of equal suffrage for women.
- Parris, Matthew, Heroes and Villains: Scarfe at the National Portrait Gallery, 2003 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 30 September 2003 to 4 April 2004), p. 104
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 479
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1927back to top
Current affairsThe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, acknowledging the full independence of the Irish Free State, led at the time by W.T. Cosgrave, the the first President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.
Art and scienceThe BBC gains its Royal Charter making it a public corporation and a public service broadcaster accountable to its audience. John Reith became the first Director General with the directive to 'inform, educate and entertain.'
InternationalStalin expels Leon Trotsky from the Soviet Communist Party, giving himself greater control of the party and country by ousting opposition elements.
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