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Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Portraits of Mary Raleigh Richardson; Lilian Lenton; Kitty Marion (Katherina Maria Schafer); Lillian Forrester; Miss Johansen; Clara Elizabeth Giveen; Jennie Baines; Miriam Pratt. Surveillance photographs of militant suffragettes were issued to public galleries including the National Portrait Gallery in 1914. Most of the images in the composite group photograph were taken undercover while the women were in the exercise yards of Manchester or Holloway prisons. While the surveillance photograph lacks any of the understanding between artist and sitter necessary in a portrait, the images are themselves striking and sometimes unintentionally heroic. Of those included, Gertrude Ansell (1861–1932) (below, bottom row, second left), a professional typist, attacked Hubert Herkomer’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington at the Royal Academy and was forcibly fed 236 times.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Surveillance Photograph of Militant Suffragettes




bromide print mounted onto identification sheet


H 17.4 x W 21 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired from Criminal Record Office, 1914

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National Portrait Gallery, London

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