This Women’s Social and Political Union medal for valour was awarded to Mary Richardson, the Canadian-born militant suffragette who, in protest at the re-arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst in March 1914, slashed the ‘Rokeby’ Venus with an axe at the National Gallery.
In the photo right she is shown being led away by police after
attacking the Velazquez when she famously said: "You can get
another picture, but you cannot get another life, and they are
killing Mrs Pankhurst."
The silver medal, hallmarked for Birmingham 1912, is believed to
carry the greatest number of award bars given by the WSPU during
the hunger strikes - an indication that no one was force-fed more
often than 'Slasher' Richardson.
On the market for the first time, the medal was sold by London's
Dix Noonan Webb on December 16 for £19,000 (plus 15 per cent
buyer's premium). It was bought by a collector who has expressed a
desire to loan it to a museum.
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