Dame Cicely Mary Strode Saunders

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dame Cicely Mary Strode Saunders

by Catherine Goodman
oil on canvas, 2005
35 7/8 in. x 27 7/8 in. (912 mm x 707 mm)
Commissioned as part of the First Prize, 2002 BP Portrait Award, 2005
Primary Collection
NPG 6704

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Catherine Goodman (1961-), Painter; Artistic Director of the Royal Drawing School. Artist or producer of 2 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Painted in Dame Cicely's home during regular weekly sittings this portrait is a witness to a close bond between the subject and artist and a poignant record of Dame Cicely's own battle with pain, having undergone further surgery for cancer during the sittings. Becoming fascinated and engaged by the collaborative nature of the process Dame Cicely said to the artist on the portrait's completion: 'I see this as much my work as yours'.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 140 Read entry

    Dame Cicely Saunders (1918-2005) was a physician, writer and pioneer of modern palliative care. While working as a medical social worker in the 1940s, she was involved in the care of patients with incurable illnesses and, shortly after qualifying as a doctor, was awarded a research scholarship to study pain management in the terminally ill. Saunders formulated the concept of ‘total pain’, encompassing the physical, emotional, spiritual and social dimensions of distress and, in 1967, went on to found St Christopher’s Hospice, the first purpose-built hospice in the world. In 2002, she set up Cicely Saunders International, a charity that seeks to promote research to improve the care and treatment of all patients with progressive illnesses and those at the end of life.

  • Lydia Miller; Samira Ahmed, Inspirational Women: Rediscovering stories in Art, Science and Social Reform, 2022, p. 62
  • Nairne, Sandy (introduction), 500 Portraits: BP Portrait Award, 2011, p. 27

Placesback to top

Events of 2005back to top

Current affairs

London suffers its worst bomb attack since the Second World War when four devices are detonated during rush hour on public transport. Three of the bombs went off on tube trains, and one on a bus killing 56 people and injuring 700. A Leeds-based terror cell of British born or raised Islamic extremists committed the attacks.
John Sentamu becomes the first black Archbishop of the Church of England.

Art and science

As part of the international Make Poverty History campaign, ten Live 8 concerts are held simultaneously around the world to coincide with the meeting of the G8 and persuade the world's richest countries to 'drop the debt' owed by the world's poorest countries, increase aid to the world's poorest people and negotiate fairer international trade rules.


1,836 die in America as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding. The hurricane was the most costly in US history and one of the most deadly. It caused the levees of Lake Pontchartrain to break, which flooded 80% of New Orleans. About one million people evacuated the city while 25,000 stayed behind, many taking refuge in the city's Superdome.

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