Entertainment

Friday 21 September 2018

Portrait capturing Suffragist leader’s ‘compassion’ on display at Tate Britain

The picture was painted by Annie Swynnerton, a passionate campaigner for women’s right to vote.

A portrait by Annie Swynnerton of suffragist Millicent Fawcett (Philip Toscano/PA)
A portrait by Annie Swynnerton of suffragist Millicent Fawcett (Philip Toscano/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A painting that captures the “resilience” of Suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett has gone on display at Tate Britain to mark 100 years since women first gained the right to vote.

The portrait was painted by Manchester-born artist Annie Swynnerton, who was a campaigner for women’s rights.

Its display coincides with the centenary, on February 6, of the Representation Of The People Act, in which some women first won the right to vote.

Swynnerton was the first woman to be elected an associate member of the Royal Academy of Arts and a passionate campaigner for women’s right to vote.

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Tate Britain (John Walton/PA)

She painted several portraits of leading figures in the women’s movement.

The picture on display at Tate Britain is thought to date from 1899 when Fawcett, shown wearing university robes, was given an honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews.

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said: “Swynnerton poignantly captures the qualities of resilience and compassion in her sitter, revealing the force behind this exceptional woman.

“We are thrilled to be able to mark the centenary of women’s right to vote with a work by an artist who was an ardent campaigner for women’s rights and whose subject is one of the most important pioneers in the history of women’s suffrage.”

The painting will be on display at Tate Britain until February 12, before going on loan to Manchester Art Gallery for the exhibition Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light And Hope, opening on February 23.

A new statue of Fawcett by artist Gillian Wearing will be unveiled in Parliament Square later this year.

Press Association

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