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Barbara Bodichon
Landscape with Irises
Painting ID: 37683
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Barbara Bodichon Landscape with Irises
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Barbara Bodichon:
1827-1891 was an English educationalist, artist, and a leading early nineteenth century feminist and activist for women's rights. She was the illegitimate child of Anne Longden, a 25-year-old milliner from Alfreton, and Benjamin Leigh Smith (1783-1860) , an MP's only son, who was himself a Radical MP for Norwich. Benjamin (Ben) had four sisters. One, Fanny Smith, married into the Nightingale family and produced a daughter, Florence Nightingale; another married into the Bonham-Carter family. Ben's father wanted him to marry Mary Shore, the sister of William Nightingale, now an in law by marriage Ben Smith's home was in Marylebone, London, but from 1816 he inherited and purchased property near Hastings: Brown's Farm near Robertsbridge, with a house built around 1700 (extant), and Crowham Manor, Westfield, which included 200 acres. Although a member of the landed gentry, Smith held radical views. He was a Dissenter, a Unitarian, a supporter of Free Trade, and a benefactor to the poor. In 1826 he bore the cost of building a school for the inner city poor at Vincent Square, Westminster, and paid a penny a week towards the fees for each child, the same amount as paid by their parents. On a visit to his sister in Derbyshire in 1826 Smith met Anne Longden, a 25-year-old milliner from Alfreton. She became pregnant and Smith took her to a rented lodge at Whatlington, a small village near Battle, East Sussex. There she lived as 'Mrs Leigh', the surname of Ben Smith's relations on the Isle of Wight. Barbara's birth created a scandal because the couple did not marry. Smith rode on horseback from Brown's Farm to visit them daily, and within eight weeks Anne was pregnant again. When little Ben was born the four of them went to America for two years, during which time another child was conceived. On their return to Sussex they lived openly together at Brown's, and had two more children. After their last child was born, in 1833, Anne became ill with tuberculosis and Smith leased 9 Pelham Crescent, which faced the sea at Hastings










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