Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
after Samuel Laurence
18 5/8 in. x 13 7/8 in. (474 mm x 352 mm) overall
Bequeathed by Mary A. Ewart, 1911
Sitterback to top
- Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891), Artist and women's rights activist; benefactor of Girton College, Cambridge. Sitter in 3 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Samuel Laurence (1812-1884), Portrait painter. Artist or producer associated with 38 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Artist and women’s activist, Barbara Bodichon was the illegitimate daughter of radical Liberal MP Benjamin Smith. A private income gave her independence and enabled her to train as a professional artist. As the leader of the progressive Langham Place group, Bodichon led campaigns demanding women's rights to receive legal recognition, as well as to work, vote, and gain access to education. Her efforts contributed to the passing of the Married Women's Property Act of 1870, finally allowing married women to become the legal owners of any money they earned and to inherit property. This was extended to owning, buying and selling property with a second Act passed in 1882.
Events of 1861back to top
Current affairsDeath of Prince Albert, from typhoid fever. Queen Victoria goes into a long period of mourning, withdrawing from public duties, and becomes known by the satirical title 'Widow of Windsor'.
Art and scienceMrs Beeton's Book of Household Management is published by her husband Sidney, who successfully maintained the Beeton brand after his wife's early death seven years later. The highly popular book, containing recipes and advice for housekeeping, appealed to the Victorian belief that a woman's role was managing the home.
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company is founded, marking the start of the arts and crafts movement.
InternationalThe American civil war begins after the Confederate army attacks Union forces at Fort Sumter in April. The Confederates, comprised of eleven southern states who seceded from the Union over the right to independence on issues such as abolition, are presided over by Jefferson Davis, formerly senator of Mississippi. Although the Union had early successes, the Confederates' victory at Bull Run sets the Union up for a long, four-year war.
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