Marion Wallace Dunlop

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Marion Wallace Dunlop
Marion Wallace-Dunlop.jpg
by Colonel Blathwayt
NationalityUnited Kingdom
EducationSlade School of Fine Art

Marion Wallace Dunlop (22 December 1864 – 12 September 1942) 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]


The Magic Fruit Garden by Marion Wallace Dunlop

Dunlop was born at Leys Castle, Inverness, Scotland, on 22 December 1864, daughter of Robert Henry Wallace Dunlop and his second wife, Lucy Wallace Dunlop (née Dowson; 1836–1914).[2]

She moved later to England and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. 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

Dunlop became an active member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU)[4] and was first arrested in 1908 for "obstruction" 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 strikes[edit]

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 she go on a hunger strike. 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 offense. She announced that she would eat no food until this right was conceded."[5] 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".

Force feeding[edit]

She 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.[6] As a result, in September 1909, the British Government introduced force feeding in prisons.[7]


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.[6]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Spartacus article on Marion Dunlop Wallace Archived 23 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Hunger: A Modern History by James Vernon

External links[edit]

  • 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.