Marion Wallace-Dunlop

Marion Wallace-Dunlop


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Marion Wallace-Dunlop, the daughter of Robert Henry Wallace-Dunlop, of the Bengal civil service, was born at Leys Castle, Inverness, on 22nd December 1864. She later claimed that she was a direct descendant of the mother of William Wallace.

Marion Wallace-Dunlop studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and in 1899 illustrated in art nouveau style two books, Fairies, Elves, and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden. She also exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1903, 1905 and 1906.

The art critic, Joseph Lennon, has argued: "Wallace-Dunlop’s art and writings, along with her prints, sketches, letters and photos, provide a more complete genealogy of the hunger strike, and show a woman challenging the aesthetic and gender boundaries of her day. Her oil portrait of her sister Constance (Miss C. W. D., 1892) portrays a woman with a shawl wrapped around her shoulders, who sits erect, alarmed, with a tinge of fear, and stares disturbingly out at the viewer. Meeting and challenging our own gaze, her haunted stare makes us feel we have stumbled into a private space, the subject’s own. Wallace-Dunlop had a talent for creating such unsettling images."

Wallace-Dunlop was a supporter of women's suffrage and in 1900 she joined the Central Society for Women's Suffrage. She was also a socialist and from 1906 she was an active member of the Fabian Women's Group. By 1905 the media had lost interest in the struggle for women's rights. Newspapers rarely reported meetings and usually refused to publish articles and letters written by supporters of women's suffrage. Emily Pankhurst, the leader of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), advocated a new strategy to obtain the publicity that she thought would be needed in order to obtain the vote. As her biographer, Leah Leneman, points out, "militancy made an immediate appeal to her."

During the summer of 1908 the WSPU introduced the tactic of breaking the windows of government buildings. On 30th June suffragettes marched into Downing Street and began throwing small stones through the windows of the Prime Minister's house. As a result of this demonstration, twenty-seven women were arrested and sent to Holloway Prison. The following month Wallace-Dunlop was arrested and charged with "obstruction" and was briefly imprisoned.

While in prison she came into contact with two women who had been found guilty of killing children. She wrote in her diary: "It made me feel frantic to realize how terrible is a social system where life is so hard for the girls that they have to sell themselves or starve. Then when they become mothers the child is not only a terrible added burden, but their very motherhood bids them to kill it and save it from a life of starvation, neglect. I begin to feel I must be dreaming that this prison life can’t be real. That it is impossible that it is true and I am in the midst of it. I know now the meaning of the screened galley in the Chapel, the poor condemned girl sits there with a wardress."

On her release she made a speech about the plight of the working-class: "In this country every year 120,000 babies die before they are a year old, and most of these die because of the conditions into which they are born. It is not so much the babies who die that one pities but those who survive, poor, maimed, starved, stunted little beings."

On 25th June 1909 Wallace-Dunlop was charged "with wilfully damaging the stone work of St. Stephen's Hall, House of Commons, by stamping it with an indelible rubber stamp, doing damage to the value of 10s." According to a report in The Times Wallace-Dunlop printed a notice that read: "Women's Deputation. June 29. Bill of Rights. It is the right of the subjects to petition the King, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitionings are illegal."

Wallace-Dunlop was found guilty of wilful damage and when she refused to pay a fine she was sent to prison for a month. On 5th July, 1909 she petitioned the governor of Holloway Prison: “I claim the right recognized by all civilized nations that a person imprisoned for a political offence should have first-division treatment; and as a matter of principle, not only for my own sake but for the sake of others who may come after me, I am now refusing all food until this matter is settled to my satisfaction.”

In her book, Unshackled (1959) Christabel Pankhurst claimed: "Miss Wallace Dunlop, taking counsel with no one and acting entirely on her own initiative, sent to the Home Secretary, Mr. Gladstone, as soon as she entered Holloway Prison, an application to be placed in the first division as befitted one charged with a political offence. She announced that she would eat no food until this right was conceded."

Frederick Pethick-Lawrence wrote to Wallace-Dunlop: "Nothing has moved me so much - stirred me to the depths of my being - as your heroic action. The power of the human spirit is to me the most sublime thing in life - that compared with which all ordinary things sink into insignificance." He also congratulated her for "finding a new way of insisting upon the proper status of political prisoners, and of the resourcefulness and energy in the face of difficulties that marked the true Suffragette."

Wallace-Dunlop refused to eat for several days. Afraid that she might die and become a martyr, it was decided to release her after fasting for 91 hours. As Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999), has pointed out: "As with all the weapons employed by the WSPU, its first use sprang directly from the decision of a sole protagonist; there was never any suggestion that the hunger strike was used on this first occasion by direction from Clement's Inn."

Soon afterwards other imprisoned suffragettes adopted the same strategy. Unwilling to release all the imprisoned suffragettes, the prison authorities force-fed these women on hunger strike. In one eighteen month period, Emily Pankhurst, who was now in her fifties, endured ten of these hunger-strikes.

Wallace-Dunlop visited Eagle House near Batheaston in June 1910 with Margaret Haig Thomas. Their host, was Mary Blathwayt, a fellow member of the WSPU. Her father Colonel Linley Blathwayt planted a tree, a Tsuga Mertensiana, in her honour in his suffragette arboretum in a field adjacent to the house. Mary's mother, Emily Blathwayt, commented in her diary: "Miss Wallace Dunlop and Miss Haig (like so many of them) never eat meat and not much animal food at all... We liked her very much, she was so ladylike."

Wallace-Dunlop joined forces with Edith Downing to organise a series of spectacular WSPU processions. The most impressive of these was the Woman's Coronation Procession on 17th June 1911. Flora Drummond led off on horseback with Charlotte Marsh as colour-bearer on foot behind her. She was followed by Marjorie Annan Bryce in armour as Joan of Arc.

The art historian, Lisa Tickner, described the event in her book The Spectacle of Women (1987): "The whole procession gathered itself up and swung along Northumberland Avenue to the strains of Ethel Smyth's March of the Women... The mobilisation of 700 prisoners (or their proxies) dressed in white, with pennons fluttering from their glittering lances, was, as the Daily Mail observed, "a stroke of genius". As The Daily News reported: "Those who dominate the movement have a sense of the dramatic. They know that whereas the sight of one woman struggling with policemen is either comic or miserably pathetic, the imprisonment of dozens is a splendid advertisement."

Wallace-Dunlop ceased to be active in the WSPU after 1911. During the First World War she was visited by Mary Sheepshanks at her home at Peaslake, Surrey. Sheepshanks later commented: "We found her in a delicious cottage with a little chicken and goat farm, an adopted baby of 18 months, and a perfectly lovely young girl who did some bare foot dancing for us in the barn; we finished up with home made honey."

In 1928 Wallace-Dunlop was a pallbearer at the funeral of Emmeline Pankhurst. Over the next few years she took care of Mrs Pankhurst's adopted daughter, Mary. Joseph Lennon has pointed out: "Wallace-Dunlop never married, but there is no evidence of any sexual relationships with either men or women, despite her many close friendships with the latter."

Marion Wallace-Dunlop died on 12th September 1942 at the Mount Alvernia Nursing Home, Guildford.

Miss Clarkson has been more or less ill all the time, and her nerves have been tortured by hearing that a young girl who used to clean her cell for her has been condemned to be hung for child murder. She also pointed out to me another girl who was exercising, a pretty delicate - looking creature who is on remand and about to be tried for the same offence. It made me feel frantic to realize how terrible is a social system where life is so hard for the girls that they have to sell themselves or starve. I know now the meaning of the screened galley in the Chapel, the poor condemned girl sits there with a wardress.

In this country every year 120,000 babies die before they are a year old, and most of these die because of the conditions into which they are born. It is not so much the babies who die that one pities but those who survive, poor, maimed, starved, stunted little beings.

I claim the right recognized by all civilized nations that a person imprisoned for a political offence should have first-division treatment; and as a matter of principle, not only for my own sake but for the sake of others who may come after me, I am now refusing all food until this matter is settled to my satisfaction.

Miss Wallace Dunlop, taking counsel with no one and acting entirely on her own initiative, sent to the Home Secretary, Mr. She announced that she would eat no food until this right was conceded. Mr. Gladstone did not reply, but after she had fasted ninety-one hours, Miss Wallace Dunlop was set free. She was in an exhausted state, having refused every threat and appeal to induce her to break her fast.

In 1909 Wallace Dunlop went to prison and defied the long sentences that were being given by adopting the hunger-strike. "Release or Death" was her motto. From that day, July 5th, 1909, the hunger-strike was the greatest weapon we possessed against the Government… before long all Suffragette prisoners were on hunger-strike, so the threat to pass long sentences on us had failed. Sentences grew shorter.

The doctor, finding her ill on arrival, put her in the infirmary. On the morning of July 5, she amended a petition to the Governor of Holloway to announce her hunger strike. “I claim the right recognized by all civilized nations that a person imprisoned for a political offence should have first-division treatment; and as a matter of principle, not only for my own sake but for the sake of others who may come after me, I am now refusing all food until this matter is settled to my satisfaction.” In referring to those “who may come after me”, she drew attention to the 108 suffragettes arrested on June 29 (at the demonstration she had advertised). Fourteen women arrested for window-smashing were sent to Holloway later that week...

When the doctors realized she would not come off her strike and her health worsened, the Prison Commission instructed the Governor to “release her at once”. The news of her hunger strike and release spread fast around London and the world. The fourteen window-smashers first heard as they were being led from court into a Black Maria. En route they resolved to try the hunger strike themselves, this time in successive waves in order to prolong its newsworthiness. Within a few weeks, and after dozens of newspaper stories, they too were all released, and the suffrage campaign had discovered that, in the words of Annie Kenney, “the hunger-strike was the greatest weapon we possessed against the Government”.

As you say, she holds very exaggerated views as to the results of the militant tactics in influencing public opinion. She told me, with great glee, on the evening of her reception here, that the sale of their paper had gone up many thousands since the last scene at Westminster. Her idea that if she were to die in Prison, it would help their cause greatly, is probably genuine.

Women have grown to realize their responsibility not only as individuals but also as members of a great community... they have in fact at last recognized that they are part and parcel of what we may call the public conscience.


Marion Wallace-Dunlop - History

Hover over the painting to magnify (there may be an initial delay while the magnified image is loaded)

Marion Wallace Dunlop (1864-1942) :
A Faun, 1906
Passe-partout (ref: 9589)
Signed with monogram, titled to reverse

Provenance: Private collection

Marion Wallace-Dunlop’s roaring and grinning Devils in Divers Shapes emerged from an imagination that conceived daring and innovative protests for the women’s suffrage movement, including the first hungerstrike campaign. In July of 1909, Wallace-Dunlop staged a hunger strike and followed up with newspaper interviews. Previously, she led other protests, including women’s deputations to Parliament and stamping messages in violet ink on the walls of Westminster (she is memorialised in the stained glass in St. Stephen’s Porch), and, later, massive street processions – each conceived to capture headlines and stir emotions.

Her rare 1905 prints similarly evoke outrage, humour and impishness. A devotee of faery lore, the Celtic twilight and fine art, Wallace-Dunlop grew up near Inverness and descended from the rebel family of William of Wallace. Trained in fine art, Wallace-Dunlop set up her studio in 1890s London, out of which she painted portraits and watercolours, illustrated children’s books and published cartoons in Punch and elsewhere. After 1906, however, she turned her classical training in painting and printmaking to the service of the militant women’s suffrage movement. Along with the Pankhursts in the Women’s Social and Political Union, she directed the creation of tapestries, banners and prints.

These diminutive devils fascinate because they seem to embody full emotions – from deep outrage to mild distemper, wild surprise to joyful and proud self-regard – with a measure of innocence. These “divers”, androgynous, and sometimes amphibious creatures are never bashful and are in full command of their moments. Their emotionality distinguishes them from the urbane and decadent illustrations of her contemporaries William Strang and Aubrey Beardsley. Like them, Wallace-Dunlop’s imagination did not peddle morality over passion, but unlike their works, Devils in Divers Shapes unapologetically revels in both soulful silliness and emotive energy.

Commentary by Joseph Lennon, Associate Dean, Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies and Professor of English at Villanova University. He has written two books – Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (2008) and Fell Hunger (2011). His current project focuses on the origins of the modern hunger strike.




Biography

Marion Wallace-Dunlop was a portrait painter, figurative artist, illustrator and ardent feminist. While studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, recognition of her talent resulted in the commissioning, (in 1899), of two illustrated books: Fairies, Elves and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden. She exhibited with the Paris Salon, the RA (1903, 1905, 1906) and the RGI (1903).

Fiercely devoted to the fight for women’s rights, she dedicated much of her career, and life, to the suffrage movement. After joining the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1908 she was soon arrested for ‘obstruction’, and was the first suffragette to go on hunger strike while imprisoned in 1909. She also directed the creation of banners, tapestries and prints to call for women’s right to vote, particularly the ‘Women’s Coronation Procession’ in 1911.


Marion Wallace-Dunlop - History


AFFORDABLE MUSEUM-QUALITY ART

Hover over the painting to magnify (there may be an initial delay while the magnified image is loaded)

Marion Wallace Dunlop (1864-1942) :
A Slumbering Demon, from Devils in Diverse Shapes, circa 1906
Framed (ref: 11169)

Signed with monogram, titled to reverse

Woodcut with colour added

Paper dimensions 211mm x 164mm

Provenance: Private Collection

Marion Wallace-Dunlop’s roaring and grinning Devils in Divers Shapes emerged from an imagination that conceived daring and innovative protests for the women’s suffrage movement, including the first hungerstrike campaign. In July of 1909, Wallace-Dunlop staged a hunger strike and followed up with newspaper interviews. Previously, she led other protests, including women’s deputations to Parliament and stamping messages in violet ink on the walls of Westminster (she is memorialised in the stained glass in St. Stephen’s Porch), and, later, massive street processions – each conceived to capture headlines and stir emotions.

Her rare 1905 prints similarly evoke outrage, humour and impishness. A devotee of faery lore, the Celtic twilight and fine art, Wallace-Dunlop grew up near Inverness and descended from the rebel family of William of Wallace. Trained in fine art, Wallace-Dunlop set up her studio in 1890s London, out of which she painted portraits and watercolours, illustrated children’s books and published cartoons in Punch and elsewhere. After 1906, however, she turned her classical training in painting and printmaking to the service of the militant women’s suffrage movement. Along with the Pankhursts in the Women’s Social and Political Union, she directed the creation of tapestries, banners and prints.

These diminutive devils fascinate because they seem to embody full emotions – from deep outrage to mild distemper, wild surprise to joyful and proud self-regard – with a measure of innocence. These “divers”, androgynous, and sometimes amphibious creatures are never bashful and are in full command of their moments. Their emotionality distinguishes them from the urbane and decadent illustrations of her contemporaries William Strang and Aubrey Beardsley. Like them, Wallace-Dunlop’s imagination did not peddle morality over passion, but unlike their works, Devils in Divers Shapes unapologetically revels in both soulful silliness and emotive energy.

Commentary by Joseph Lennon, Associate Dean, Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies and Professor of English at Villanova University. He has written two books – Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (2008) and Fell Hunger (2011). His current project focuses on the origins of the modern hunger strike.

Biography

Marion Wallace-Dunlop was a portrait painter, figurative artist, illustrator and ardent feminist. While studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, recognition of her talent resulted in the commissioning, (in 1899), of two illustrated books: Fairies, Elves and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden. She exhibited with the Paris Salon, the RA (1903, 1905, 1906) and the RGI (1903).

Fiercely devoted to the fight for women’s rights, she dedicated much of her career, and life, to the suffrage movement. After joining the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1908 she was soon arrested for ‘obstruction’, and was the first suffragette to go on hunger strike while imprisoned in 1909. She also directed the creation of banners, tapestries and prints to call for women’s right to vote, particularly the ‘Women’s Coronation Procession’ in 1911.


Dunlop Nació en Leys Castle, Inverness, Escocia, el 22 d'avientu de 1864, fía de Robert Henry Wallace Dunlop y la so segunda muyer, Lucy Wallace Dunlop (née Dowson 1836–1914). [3]

Darréu camudóse a Inglaterra y estudió n'el Slade School of Fine Art. En 1899 ilustró n'estilu art nouveau dos llibros, Fairies, elves and Flower Babies y The magic fruit garden. Tamién esibió na Real Academia en 1903, 1095 y 1906. [4]

Dunlop convertir nuna miembra bien activa de la Unión Social y Política de les Muyeres (WSPU), de fechu foi arrestada dos veces en 1908. La primer vegada por "obstrucción" y la segunda por liderar una marcha de muyeres. En 1909 foi arrestada una tercer vegada, nesti casu por pintar na paré de la Camara de los comunes parte de la Declaración de Derechos Británica (Bill of rights), que dicía: " Ye derechu de los súbditos faer un pidimientu al rei, y toa reclusión y persecución por tal pidimientu ye illegal" Marion ayudó a planiar munches de les manifestaciones de la WSPU pol derechu al votu de les muyeres, incluyendo la del 17 de xunu de 1911.

Nunca hubo nenguna suxerencia o encamientu per parte d'otres persones a Marion, por qu'empezara la fuelga de fame. Toles informaciones suxuren que foi la so propia idea. Sicasí, poco tiempu dempués, la fuelga de fame convertir nel estandarte de la llucha sufraxista. Christabel Pankhurst darréu declaró: " La señorita Wallace Dunlop, ensin ser aconseyada por naide y actuando dafechu so la so propia iniciativa, namás entrar na cárcel de Holloway, mandó al secretariu d'estáu, el señor Gladstone, una solicitú pa ser considerada como presa de primer división por un cargu de delitu políticu. Anunció que nun diba inxerir nengún alimentu hasta qu'esta esixencia fuera concedida" [5] La señora Pethick-Lawrence destacó que Wallace-Dunlop había atopáu "una nueva forma d'esixir la considerancia de preses polítiques, y tuvo l'habilidá y enerxía d'enfrentase a les dificultaes a les que s'enfrenta una verdadera sufraxista".

Marion soportó 91 hores d'ayunu hasta que foi lliberada pol so estáu de salú. La fuelga de fame foi la so idea y dempués del ésitu llográu convertir en política oficial de la WSPU. [6] En respuesta a esto, en setiembre de 1909, el Gobierno británicu introdució l'alimentación forzada de les prisioneres. [7]

Wallace-Dunlop foi portadora del féretro d'Emmeline Pankhurst cuando morrió en 1928. A partir d'entós fíxose cargu de Mary, la fía adoptiva de Emmeline. Wallace Dunlop morrió'l 12 de setiembre de 1942 en Monte Alvernia Nursing Home, Guildford.


Suffragette Stitches, Marion Wallace Dunlop

The Treasures of the Smith exhibition, which runs until 4 October has a new acquisition of some significance. It is an embroidered fire screen by the famous suffragette activist and artist, Marion Wallace Dunlop (1864-1942). The subject is Spring and features a woman in long purple robes surrounded by blue birds, bluebells and other spring flowers.


Marion Wallace Dunlop, who trained at Slade School of Art, was an artist of considerable talent but until now, none of her work has appeared in the collection of a public museum or gallery.

Although she lived most of her life in England, she was fiercely proud of her Scottish birth and heritage. She claimed descent from William Wallace’s mother (as did the entire Wallace Dunlop family), and she sought to emulate Wallace in her fight for votes for women. Jailed in July 1909, she wondered what William Wallace would do – and stopped eating, thus initiating the tactic of the hunger strike, which has since been a powerful weapon in the hands of political prisoners worldwide. George Bernard Shaw wrote that her actions ‘struck a chord which will vibrate to the end of time when we are dead and forgotten, when this great movement has spent itself and been crowned with victory’.

Marion still has relatives in Kippen, and it is good to have her art in Stirling.


Marion Wallace-Dunlop - History

By the late 1880s, belief in punishment and deterrence as the main objects of imprisonment and confidence in the separate system as a desirable and effective means of dealing with prisoners came increasingly under question especially from a rabid campaign in the Daily Chronicle.[1] The result was the departmental committee chaired by Herbert Gladstone in 1894 and 1895 reflecting changes in attitudes towards prisoners.[2] ‘We start’, said the Committee, ‘from the principle that prison treatment should have as its primary and concurrent objects, deterrence and reformation’.[3] The Committee recommended that unproductive labour, in particular the crank and tread-wheel should be abolished and that the principle of labour in association, practised for many years in the convict service, should be extended to local prisons. They argued that under proper conditions association for industrial labour relieved isolation was healthier, eased the task of providing industrial work in prison and, if regarded as a privilege that could be withdrawn, would not endanger control.[4] The Committee also recommended that further efforts should be made to classify prisoners, that books should be made more widely available and that educational facilities should be extended. They urged that the rules about visits should be exercised with discretion not rigidly applied, especially in circumstances where they would be beneficial to the prisoner. For convicts, the initial period of solitary confinement should be reduced, since its original reformatory purpose had long since deteriorated into one of pure deterrence. A juvenile reformatory should be established to take offenders up to the age of 23 for a period of between one and three years with the emphasis on individual treatment and special arrangements for after-care. For the ‘habitual criminal’ preventative detention was introduced to enable courts to impose an additional sentence of 5-10 years as a deterrent. More generally, the Committee emphasised the urgent need for aid and after-care to be available to prisoners on release and for the voluntary bodies concerned to have opportunities to establish contact with prisoners before their discharge.

On the publication of the report, Sir Edmund Du Cane, chairman of the Prison Commissioners resigned his post, something welcomed in the press as ‘the inevitable end of a discredited system’.[5] The report is frequently used to mark a shift in penal policy away from a rigidly deterrent approach and a condemnation of ‘useless’ labour to one grounded in a more ‘reformative’ system of imprisonment and this has given it the appearance of a prospectus for radical change.[6] However, its recommendations were implemented slowly and piecemeal.[7] There were significant weaknesses in the report arising largely from its failure to address the issue of prison administration as well as conditions for prisoners and its indecisiveness, a reflection of the weakness and amateurish nature of the committee from the outset.[8] That the publication of the report came less than two months before the resignation of Rosebery’s Liberal government and its defeat in a general election meant that its impact was further limited. The result was that some of its recommendations were watered down while others were simply ignored. The momentum for change in penal policy dissipated and it was not until 1898 that legislation was passed.[9]

Few of the Gladstone recommendations required legislation since powers had already been delegated to the Home Secretary to frame and revise prison rules and this may explain why the Prisons Act 1898 had such a lengthy development. In addition, there was little parliamentary pressure for a legislative review of penal policy and although draft bills were written in 1896 and 1897, they were not seen as a priority The Prison Act 1898 dealt mainly with changes in the nature of prison labour, by providing for association in labour if this was practicable, for the phasing out of the crank and treadwheel and for the use of oakum picking only as a last resort. The Act also made provision for the courts to classify into one of three divisions those sentenced to imprisonment without hard labour. This novel development reflected the contemporary view that it was more appropriate that the sentencing court rather than the executive should decide the conditions under which an offender should serve his sentence. In practice, courts seldom used any but the third classification, the most severe but the provision was not repealed until 1948. The legislation made important structural changes by amalgamating the Prison Commissioners and the Directors of Convict Prisons and in establishing the principle of lay involvement in monitoring prisons through Boards of Visitors.

…was a man’s world made for men, by men. Women in prison were seen as somehow anomalous: not foreseen and not legislated for. They were provided with separate quarters and female staff dealt with all that for reasons of modesty and good order – but not otherwise differently.[10]

The most common offences committed by women were linked to prostitution and were, essentially, ‘victimless’ crimes such as soliciting, drunkenness, drunk and disorderly and vagrancy that tended to be dealt with by the courts either by fines or short periods of imprisonment. Until Holloway became a female-only prison in 1903, women were held in separate sections of mixed prisons. However, the unlawful activities of the predominantly middle-class Suffragettes posed a major problem for the prison authorities especially when they began going on hunger strikes. What distinguished the suffragette hunger strike campaign was the calculated use of the press, especially after the government began to force-feed suffragettes. In reporting stories of determined women prisoners, newspapers presented a challenge, for millions of voters, to more docile images of women.[11]

On 24 June 1909, an artist Marion Wallace Dunlop was arrested and imprisoned after painting an extract of the 1689 Bill of Rights on the wall of the House of Commons. Like other suffragette prisoners, she refused political status in prison and, on 5 July, began a hunger strike in protest. After ninety-one hours of fasting, she was released. Other suffragettes followed her example and were also released. From September 1909, Herbert Gladstone, Home Secretary (1905-1910), introduced forcible feeding[12]. Historians are divided over the importance of force-feeding. Some justify it simply on the grounds that it saved the lives of hunger strikers. On the other hand, suffragette propaganda portrayed it as oral rape and many feminist historians have agreed with this perspective. Over a thousand women endured, what Jane Marcus called ‘the public violation of their bodies’ and a contemporary doctor said that ‘using the term ‘medical treatment’ as a cloak, commits an act which would be assault if done by an ordinary doctor’.[13] There was also a class dimension. Influential women like Lady Constance Lytton[14] were released, while working-class women were treated brutally.[15] As the number of suffragette prisoners’ rose and suffragette propaganda continued to make capital out of forcible feeding, the government changed its strategy. In April 1913, the Prisoners’ Temporary Discharge on Ill-Health Act was passed. This allowed the temporary discharge of prisoners on hunger strike combined with their re-arrest later once they had recovered and was soon described as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’.

Although there were several attempts before 1914 to define and improve the nature of convict life and changes in the ways that young offenders were treated, much of the structures of imprisonment followed the foundations laid down by Carnarvon and Du Cane and remained largely undisturbed by reformers, administrators and politicians for much of the following century.[16]

[1] Forsythe, W.J., Penal discipline, reformatory projects and the English Prison Commission, 1895-1939, (Exeter University Press), 1990 and Harding Christopher, ‘’The Inevitable End of a Discredited System’? The Origins of the Gladstone Committee Report on Prisons, 1895’, Historical Journal , Vol. 31, (3), (1988), pp. 591-608 and Hannum, E. Brown, ‘The Debate on Penal Goals: Carnarvon, Gladstone and the harnessing of Nineteenth Century ‘Truth’, 1865-1895’, New England Journal on Prison Law, Vol. 7, (1981), pp. 97-103.

[2] ‘Report from the departmental committee on prisons’, Parliamentary Papers, Vol. lvi, 1895 or the Gladstone Committee.

[3] Gladstone Committee, para 25.

[4] In 1900, as part of the Gladstone reforms, prison were instructed to allow conversation between prisoners at exercise but the reactions of prison governors was almost entirely unfavourable. ‘Conservation, the Prison Commissioners’ Annual Report in 1900 stated, ‘at exercise is not sought after prisoners prefer to exercise in the usual way.’

[5] Daily Chronicle, 15 April 1895.

[6] See, for example, Loucks, Nancy and Haines, Kevin, ‘Crises in British Prisons: A Critical Review Essay’, International Criminal Justice Review, Vol. 3, (1993), pp. 77-93 that stated at pp. 77-78 ‘The Gladstone Committee (1895) laid the framework for the aims of the modern prison service in England and Wales.’

[7] For contemporary criticism see, Morrison, W.D., ‘The Progress of Prison Reform’, Law Magazine and Review, Vol. 32, (1902-1903), pp. 32-33.

[8] McConville, Sean, English Local Prisons, 1860-1900: Next only to Death, pp. 615-696 discusses the Gladstone report and its aftermath.

[9] Ibid, McConville, Sean, English Local Prisons, 1860-1900, pp. 697-757 examines the tortuous passage of legislation.

[10] Ibid, Priestley, Philip, Victorian Prison Lives, pp. 69-70

[11] Purvis, June, ‘The prison experiences of the Suffragettes’, Women’s History Review, Vol. 4, (1), (1995), pp. 103-133.

[12] This was maintained Reginald McKenna (Home Secretary, 23 October 1911-25 May 1915). Winston Churchill was Home Secretary during the truce in 1910-1911 and it is interesting to speculate what he would have done about force-feeding, as he was a supporter of women’s suffrage. On the attitude of the Home Office from 1906 to 1914 see, Crawford, Elizabeth, ‘Police, Prisons and Prisoners: the view from the Home Office’, Women’s History Review, Vol. 14, (3 & 4), (2005), pp. 487-505.

[13] British Medical Journal, 5 October 1915, p. 908.

[14] Constance Lytton, the daughter of the Earl of Lytton who had once served as Viceroy of India, joined the Suffragettes in 1909 and was arrested on several occasions for militant actions. However, on each occasion, she was released without being force-fed. Believing that she was getting special treatment because of his upper class background, she decided to test her theory. In 1911, she dressed as a working-class woman and was arrested in a protest outside Liverpool’s Walton Gaol under the name ‘Jane Wharton’. She underwent a cursory medical inspection and was passed fit. She was forcibly fed and became so ill she suffered a stroke that partially paralysed her. After her release, her story generated a great deal of publicity for the movement. See, Mulvey-Roberts, Marie, ‘Militancy, masochism or martyrdom? The public and private prisons of Constance Lytton’ in Purvis, June and Holton, Sandra Stanley, (eds.), Votes for Women, (Routledge), 2000, pp. 159-180.

[15] Geddes, J.F., ‘Culpable Complicity: the medical profession and the forcible feeding of suffragettes, 1909-1914’, Women’s History Review, Vol. 17, (1), (2008), pp. 79-94. The forcible feeding of suffragettes in prisons in Edwardian Britain was an abuse that had serious physical and psychological consequences for those fed, and one in which the medical profession was complicit, by failing as a body to condemn the practice as both medically unnecessary and dangerous. Sir Victor Horsley, an eminent but controversial figure, led opposition to forcible feeding, but, with relatively few male colleagues backing him, it continued unchecked. Undeterred, Horsley worked tirelessly to make his profession aware of the realities of the practice and recognise that, as the militant campaign had escalated, the Home Office had used the doctors administering it to punish, rather than treat, the hunger strikers.

[16] Ibid, McConville, Sean, English Local Prisons, 1860-1900, p. 549.


Talk:Marion Wallace Dunlop

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Lot 139: Dunlop (Marion Wallace, 1864-1942). Fairies and

Dunlop (Marion Wallace, 1864-1942). Fairies and hop flowers, oil on canvas, of a fairy in a diaphanous blue dress seated amongst hop flowers, and surrounded by four baby elves, initialled in right-hand corner MWD and dated 1902, 245 x 195 mm (9.75 x 7.75 ins), framed Marion Wallace Dunlop was a portrait painter, figure artist and illustrator. She worked in London from 1871, and exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of Women Artists, amongst other places. She illustrated Fairies, Elves and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden (both published 1899). Dunlop is also famous for her involvement in the Suffragette Movement. She was the first female suffragette to go on hunger strike, in 1909, after being arrested and sentenced to a month s imprisonment for painting a clause from the Bill of Rights on the House of Commons. She was committed to Holloway on the 1st July and began refusing food on the 5th July. She maintained her fast for 91 hours of fasting before she was released on the grounds of ill health. (1)


Marion Wallace-Dunlop - History

Marion Wallace Dunlop (1864-1942) :
A Nymph, circa 1906
Passe-partout (ref: 10126)

Signed with monogram, titled to reverse

Provenance: Private collection


This hand-coloured woodcut was conceived at the same time as Marion Wallace-Dunlop’s series Devils in Divers Shapes. During the same period she was one of the key figures in the women’s suffrage movement, responsible for the first hunger strike campaign (July of 1909). Previously, she led other protests, including women’s deputations to Parliament and stamping messages in violet ink on the walls of Westminster (she is memorialised in the stained glass in St. Stephen’s Porch), and, later, massive street processions – each conceived to capture headlines and stir emotions.

Her rare 1905 prints similarly evoke outrage, humour and impishness. A devotee of faery lore, the Celtic twilight and fine art, Wallace-Dunlop grew up near Inverness and descended from the rebel family of William of Wallace. Trained in fine art, Wallace-Dunlop set up her studio in 1890s London, out of which she painted portraits and watercolours, illustrated children’s books and published cartoons in Punch and elsewhere. After 1906, however, she turned her classical training in painting and printmaking to the service of the militant women’s suffrage movement. Along with the Pankhursts in the Women’s Social and Political Union, she directed the creation of tapestries, banners and prints.

These diminutive devils fascinate because they seem to embody full emotions – from deep outrage to mild distemper, wild surprise to joyful and proud self-regard – with a measure of innocence. These “divers”, androgynous, and sometimes amphibious creatures are never bashful and are in full command of their moments. Their emotionality distinguishes them from the urbane and decadent illustrations of her contemporaries William Strang and Aubrey Beardsley. Like them, Wallace-Dunlop’s imagination did not peddle morality over passion, but unlike their works, Devils in Divers Shapes unapologetically revels in both soulful silliness and emotive energy.

Commentary by Joseph Lennon, Associate Dean, Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies and Professor of English at Villanova University. He has written two books – Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (2008) and Fell Hunger (2011). His current project focuses on the origins of the modern hunger strike.




Biography

Marion Wallace-Dunlop was a portrait painter, figurative artist, illustrator and ardent feminist. While studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, recognition of her talent resulted in the commissioning, (in 1899), of two illustrated books: Fairies, Elves and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden. She exhibited with the Paris Salon, the RA (1903, 1905, 1906) and the RGI (1903).

Fiercely devoted to the fight for women’s rights, she dedicated much of her career, and life, to the suffrage movement. After joining the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1908 she was soon arrested for ‘obstruction’, and was the first suffragette to go on hunger strike while imprisoned in 1909. She also directed the creation of banners, tapestries and prints to call for women’s right to vote, particularly the ‘Women’s Coronation Procession’ in 1911.


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29 May 2021

The boom in cycling last year saw more people than ever hopping on the saddle. We asked avid cyclist and People’s History Museum’s (PHM) Senior Visitor Services’ Callum White to share six tried and tested routes to PHM from around Greater Manchester.

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Ideas Worth Exploring from People's History Museum

5 May 2020

Here’s a selection of events, activities, and resources to keep you connected with the museum – at home and online.

Marion Wallace Dunlop: History inspires success in Burnley

5 July 2019

#OnThisDay in 1909 suffragette Marion Wallace Dunlop went on hunger strike whilst imprisoned for militancy. She became one of the first and most well known to do so and her tactics were to inspire the likes of Ghandi.

We asked Lynne Blackburn, Director & Project Manager at Participation Works NW to share a recent project which saw a group of girls from Burnley inspired for their futures by struggles that women in the past faced.

The women of Peterloo

4 March 2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve invited our former colleague and the National Trust’s new Programme Curator of National Public Programmes Helen Antrobus to blog for us.

Helen is a specialist in the history and collections relating to 20th century radical women from the women who marched at Peterloo, to the female Chartists those involved with the women’s suffrage movement, to the first female MPs, and shares with us her insight into the women at Peterloo.

Suffragette tea set on display at People’s History Museum

18 December 2018

To complement the public display of a suffragette tea set designed by Sylvia Pankhurst we asked Dr Alexandra Hughes-Johnson, suffrage historian and Women in the Humanities Research Co-ordinator at the University of Oxford, for the story of its former owner, suffragette Rose Lamartine Yates (1875-1954).

Until recently Rose Lamartine Yates has remained a relatively unknown figure in the history of the women’s suffrage movement and despite attempts by historians Elizabeth Crawford, Gillian Hawtin and Gail Cameron to shed light onto Rose’s suffrage career, she is often still remembered for her friendship with the Emily Wilding Davison and her role as the first guard of honour to her coffin at Emily’s funeral on the 14 June 1913.

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