To mark Women’s History Month and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nancy Astor’s election as the first women to take her seat in the House of Commons, we explore Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl’s plaster bust.
The bust, which is modelled in plaster and painted to resemble terracotta, was commissioned by George Bernard Shaw from the Hungarian artist Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl in 1933.
When Shaw was moving to a smaller flat in 1949, he gifted the bust to Douglas Clifton Brown, 1st Viscount Ruffside, then the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Nancy Astor was elected to Parliament on 15 November 1919, and took her seat following her introduction to the House of Commons by Prime Minister David Lloyd George and former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour on 1 December 1919. She was the second women to be elected as a Member of Parliament, and she was the first woman to ever take her seat.
She served as an MP till she retired in 1945, winning re-election seven times, and in 1923 she made history again as the first woman to pass a Private Member’s Bill: the ‘Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to persons under Eighteen) Act.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Astor’s election and a century of women MPs in Parliament. As part of these celebrations Astor 100 celebrates the life and legacy of Astor across the country.
In Parliament, the 2019 Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art International Women's Day lecture will be delivered by Dr Jacqui Turner from the University of Reading, speaking on "Nancy Astor: First Steps Towards a Better Balanced World". This lecture will be available to view online after the event.
Find out more about the Astor 100 project online.