'Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes'

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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'Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes'

by Criminal Record Office
silver print mounted onto identification sheet, 1914
5 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in. (140 mm x 216 mm) overall
Acquired from Criminal Record Office, 1914
Photographs Collection
NPG x132846

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This portraitback to top

Surveillance photographs of militant Suffragettes were issued to public galleries including the National Portrait Gallery in 1914. Most of the photographs show women serving sentences in Holloway and Manchester, and were taken undercover in prison exercise yards.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG x45558: Evelyn Manesta (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45557: Verity Oates (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45556: Maud Mary Brindley (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45555: Gertrude Mary Ansell (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45554: Jane Short (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45553: Annie Bell (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45552: Mary Wyan (Mary Ellen Taylor) (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45551: Margaret McFarlane (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45550: Olive Leared (née Hockin) (appears within the portrait)
  • NPG x45549: Margaret Scott (Margaret Gertrude Schencke) (appears within the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 14
  • Flavia Frigeri, Women At Work: 1900 to Now, 2023, p. 31
  • Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 517
  • Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 561

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Events of 1914back to top

Current affairs

Following Germany's declaration of war on France and invasion of Belgium, Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Prime Minister, declares war on the German Empire on August 4, 1914. The popular belief that the conflict would be 'over by Christmas' was soon found to be a bitter underestimate of the scale of the war.

Art and science

The fist issue of the periodical Blast is published by Wyndham Lewis, announcing the advent of Vorticism. This movement, named by Ezra Pound and taking in art and poetry, combined the vitality and dynamism of Italian Futurism with the geometric structure of Cubism. Vorticism was a direct challenge to the perceived quaint and domestic style of the Bloomsbury group and Roger Fry's Omega Workshop.


On June 28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated in Sarajevo leading to Austria's declaration of war against Serbia and triggering the First World War. Germany declared war on Serbia's ally, Russia, and then marched on France via Belgium. Soon all of Europe and most of the world was embroiled in total war.

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