Hambling’s work, cast in silvered bronze, “encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Wollstonecraft overcame”, the artist said. “The ideals she strived for, and what she made happen … a vital contemporary discourse for all that is still to be achieved.”
Most depictions of Fawcett, including the Gillian Wearing statue installed in Parliament Square in 2018, show her as a campaigner or speaker. In the lost portrait she is depicted as a scholar.
The London scheme has been running since 1866 but only 14% of about 950 blue plaques celebrate women. Today, English Heritage announced details of six new blue plaques for 2020: secret agents Christine Granville and Noor Inayat Khan, the artist Barbara Hepworth, the first world war leader and botanist Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, and the headquarters of two suffrage organisations.
She loved parties, dogs and, as Queen Victoria’s goddaughter who lived in a grace and favour royal apartment, she was fabulously well connected. But Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was also a suffragette and therefore marked down as a danger to the state.
“It is still outrageous that the BBC, which is nearly 100 years old, has never had a woman director general and I think that is just plain wrong and the next one has to be, in my view.”
Tate Britain is to temporarily rehang the last 60 years of its gallery displays with only female artists including Bridget Riley, Rachel Whiteread and Monster Chetwynd. The museum said the rehang was part of a commitment to increase the representation of women across its galleries.
The painting is an example of a major gallery trying to right the historic wrongs of the past in that so many female artists have fallen through the gaps of art history. The National Gallery has an estimated 23 works by women in its collection.
The often untold or little-known stories of important women in the history of London transport are being highlighted as part of a new project, Where Are All the Women?, at the London Transport Museum. They include the women of Willesden bus garage who sparked a nationwide strike over equal pay in 1918, Joy Jarvis, who designed London Transport’s distinctive “roundel” seat fabrics, and Hannah Dadds, the first female tube driver.
“These women were the backbone of the hospital, and indeed the war effort, providing much needed treatment to the wounded, but also acting as a comfort to those soldiers traumatised by the horrors of war,” said historian Andrew Hann. “They worked tirelessly and deserve to be known as individuals, just as the soldiers they cared for do.”
Tricia Tuttle, this year’s artistic director of the British Film Institute, said the fair representation of female directors was a priority but they had ruled out setting quotas. “While we all want to move towards parity, we don’t want to set quotas for ourselves. We are trying to serve audiences and serve the programme and that is always at the heart of our curatorial process."