New exhibition at Plymouth City Museum highlights the life and times of Lady Astor

July 24, 2013 - Jo Clarke

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Six years ago, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery generously loaned a painting of Nancy Astor for our popular exhibition Dollar Princesses: American Heiress to Peeress in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain (17 March – 28 October 2007). A photograph from the collection of the American Museum in Britain is now on display as part of an exhibition at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery called ‘Nancy: The Life and Times of Lady Astor’. Plymouth City Museum’s Jo Clarke tells us more about their exhibition.

Astor exhibition

‘Nancy: The Life and Times of Lady Astor’ tells the story of Viscountess Nancy Astor – MP for Plymouth Sutton from 1919 to 1944, Lady Mayoress of Plymouth from 1939 to 1944 and the first woman ever to take a seat in the House of Commons. It examines Nancy’s life through four key themes of ‘Wife and Mother’, ‘Politician and Personality’, ‘Friend and Foe’ and ‘Honorary Plymothian’.

Astor exhibition

The photograph loaned by the American Museum, which shows a 1920 garden party celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Mayflower, is one of a number of key loans in the show which include iconic portraits of Winston Churchill and Christine Keeler (from the National Portrait Gallery) and oil paintings of Lawrence of Arabia and former Prime Minister David Lloyd George (from the Government Art Collection and the Imperial War Museum).

Astor exhibition

The exhibition also features a number of items from Plymouth’s permanent and civic collections including images from Nancy’s seven election campaigns, portraits of her and her husband Waldorf Astor, racing cups, commemorative silver and a diamond necklace and earrings not usually on display to the public.

Astor exhibition

‘Nancy: The Life and Times of Lady Astor’ will be on show at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery until 12 October. Exhibition opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. Admission is free and there is no need to book.

For information visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/nancyastor or telephone 01752 304774.

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