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London’s National Portrait Gallery Launches Project For More Female Works

National Portrait Gallery in London has decided to correct the overlooked contributions of women across the nation’s history through a project to cover more female contributions.

The museum announced a three-year project to increase the number of portraits made by female artists, as well as the number of female sitters in those portraits. According to a recent report, only a quarter of sitters in the portraits owned by the National Portrait Gallery featured women. The number of female artists numbered even less, just 12 per cent.

Flavia Frigeri, the curator who is the brains behind this project, said that there was a “glaring need” for more research into the contributions of women in British history. She said that from contributions to the war effort to research on mushrooms, the range of such contributions could be quite vast. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with Chanel and seek to include women who might have had a significant impact on British history.

In recent times, there has been a lot of buzz around little-known women who made significant contributions in British history but were overlooked at the time. This includes Georgina Masson (born 1923), the first Black female officer in the British army who served in the West Indian volunteers during World War II. Another name was Noor Inayat Khan, a British radio operator in France during WWII who was also a spy tasked with aiding the French resistance. She was later betrayed and executed by the Nazis. Later, she was awarded the Blue Cross and given a blue plaque in London, the first South Asian-descent woman to be given this honour.