Marion Wallace Dunlop

Marion Wallace Dunlop (22 December 1864 – 12 September 1942) was a British artist and author. She was the first and one of the most well known British suffragettes to go on hunger strike, on 5 July 1909, after being arrested in July 1909 for militancy.[1] She said she would not take any food unless she was treated as a political prisoner. She was at the centre of the Women's Social and Political Union and she campaigned by Emmeline Pankhurst to be remembered. She was one of her pallbearers and she looked after Emmeline's adopted daughter.

Marion Wallace Dunlop
Wallace-Dunlop photo Sept 1901.jpg
the young artist in 1901
Born22 December 1864
Leys Castle, Inverness, Scotland
Died12 September 1942(1942-09-12) (aged 77)
Guildford, Surrey, England
EducationSlade School of Fine Art
Occupationartist and writer
Known fordevising hunger strike as a means of suffragette protest


A "Google eyed Demon" woodcut c.1906
The Magic Fruit Garden by Marion Wallace Dunlop

Wallace Dunlop was born at Leys Castle, Inverness, Scotland, on 22 December 1864, the daughter of Robert Henry Wallace Dunlop and his second wife, Lucy Wallace Dunlop (née Dowson; 1836–1914).[2] She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and her work was displayed at the Royal Academy in 1903, 1905 and 1906. She illustrated Fairies, Elves, and Flower Babies and The Magic Fruit Garden.[3]


Entry by Marion Wallace Dunlop in Mabel Cappers WSPU prisoners scrapbook June 1909

Wallace Dunlop became an active member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU)[4] and was first arrested in 1908 for "obstruction" at the House of Commons including Ada Flatman [5]and others and again in 1908 for leading a group of women in a march. In 1909 she was arrested a third time, in this case for stenciling a passage from the Bill of Rights on a wall of the House of Commons which read, "It is the right of the subject to petition the King, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal."[1][4] She helped design many of the WSPU processions to call for women's right to vote, including 17 June 1911.

Hunger strikesEdit

Article about Dunlop's hunger strike in the 10 July 1909, edition of the Daily Arizona silver belt

There was never any suggestion that anyone advised or recommended that Wallace Dunlop go on a hunger strike and all indications are that it was her idea. However, shortly after word got out, hunger-striking became standard suffragette practice. Christabel Pankhurst later reported: "Miss Wallace Dunlop, taking counsel with no one and acting entirely on her own initiative, sent to the Home Secretary, Mr. Gladstone, as soon as she entered Holloway Prison, an application to be placed in the first division as befitted one charged with a political offence. She announced that she would eat no food until this right was conceded."[6] Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence noted that Wallace Dunlop had found a "new way of insisting upon the proper status of political prisoners, and had the resourcefulness and energy in the face of difficulties that marked the true suffragette".

91 hoursEdit

Wallace Dunlop endured 91 hours of fasting before she was released on the grounds of ill health. Hunger striking was her idea and after her success it became official WSPU policy.[7] As a result, in September 1909, the British Government introduced force feeding in prisons.[8]

Wallace Dunlop was given a Hunger Strike Medal 'for Valour' by WSPU.


Wallace Dunlop was a pallbearer when Emmeline Pankhurst died in 1928 and she then took on the task of caring for Mary who was Pankhurst's adopted daughter. Wallace Dunlop died on 12 September 1942 at Mount Alvernia Nursing Home, Guildford.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Militant Suffrage Movement : Citizenship and Resistance in Britain, by Laura E. Nym Mayhall, Assistant Professor of History Catholic University of America
  2. ^ "Statutory Birth Record for Dunlop, Marion Wallace". Scotland's People. Scotland's People. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Marion Wallace-Dunlop profile". Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b Women's Suffrage Movement by Elizabeth Crawford
  5. ^ Atkinson, Diane (2018). Rise up, women! : the remarkable lives of the suffragettes. London: Bloomsbury. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-4088-4404-5. OCLC 1016848621.
  6. ^ Spartacus article on Marion Dunlop Wallace Archived 23 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Leneman, L. (2004-09-23). Dunlop, Marion Wallace- (1864–1942), suffragist and artist. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 8 Jan. 2018, see link
  8. ^ Hunger: A Modern History by James Vernon

External linksEdit

  • Lennon, Joseph (22 July 2009). "The hunger artist". The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2014. Detailed bio of Marion Wallace Dunlop's life.