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Eleanor Rathbone 1872-1946

The original portrait by James Gunn was the idea of four of Rathbone's friends. In 1932 they asked her permission to collect contributions. Her response was one of surprise: 'I do not believe that I belong to the small class of people who justify public portraits'. Despite her reservations the project proceeded.  The subscription list soon secured over 270 names, 80% of donors were female. The Gunn portrait has been copied twice:  one painted by Reginald Lewis in 1960 for Somerville College, Oxford, and this one by Julian Barrow in 1998, commissioned by the House of Commons and funded by donation from the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust.

Download the Vote 100/Remembering Eleanor Rathbone leaflet: A most independent Member: Eleanor Rathbone MP

2016 marked the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death. The Remembering Eleanor Rathbone project arranged a series of events to celebrate her life and embrace her diverse humanitarian activism.


Eleanor Rathbone 1872-1946


Julian Barrow (1939-2013) after Sir (Herbert) James Gunn (1893-1964) by permission of the National Portrait Gallery




Oil on canvas

Catalogue number

WOA 4391