The iconic suffragette painting is displayed in London

LONDNON – (The Guardian )-  Anne Hunt slashed a Millais painting with a cleaver in 1914. She became known in newspapers as a “hatchet fiend”, “wild woman” and the “Fury with a chopper” after walking in to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) with a hidden butcher’s cleaver and slashing a painting of Thomas Carlyle. Advertisement More than a century later, the gallery is shining a light on the actions of the suffragette Anne Hunt in a display exploring how portraiture played its part in the campaign to get women the vote. It has put on display in its main galleries, for the first time in 20 years, the Millais portrait of Carlyle, which Hunt attacked in July 1914. In another room is a photograph of the damage along with other paintings and photographs that explore the wider suffrage movement.

“We think it was selected at random,” said curator Rosie Broadley. “She was just waiting for the moment when the guard’s back was turned.” Hunt got in with a cleaver despite galleries being on heightened alert after a series of militant incidents in museums, including the slashing of the Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery by Mary Richardson in March 1914. Women were, at one point, banned from major museums. Special measures included women being instructed to leave their bags and muffs in the NPG cloakroom before entering.

Votes for Women! is in Room 33 of the National Portrait Gallery until 13 May. Admission is free

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Photo: Emery Walker/National Portrait Gallery London