Portrait of Royal Free Hospital doctor Flora Murray on loan to Scottish museum
16 March 2023
The Royal Free Charity has lent a portrait of Flora Murray, trailblazing doctor and suffragette, to a Scottish museum as part of the commemorations in her home town to mark the centenary of her death.
The portrait will form the centrepiece of an exhibition at Dumfries Museum to celebrate the legacy of the Scottish medic who last year became the first woman to be depicted on a Scottish bank note.
Dr Flora Murray was born in Dumfries in 1869 and was among the first women in England to complete medical training at the Royal Free Hospital at a time when there were significant restrictions on women practising medicine and surgery.
Her partner, Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson, was also a physician and suffragette, and together they paved the way for women in medicine and the fight for women’s rights. The charity has also loaned its portrait of Dr Garrett Anderson to the exhibition.
Jon Spiers, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “It’s an honour for us to loan these portraits of Dr Flora Murray and Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson for this important exhibition. We’re delighted to have such a wonderful opportunity to share their stories and celebrate their legacy.
“The Royal Free Hospital has a long and proud tradition of leading the way, so it’s no coincidence that the history of the hospital overlaps with the remarkable stories of Flora and Louisa: trailblazers, pioneers and innovators.”
With the onset of World War I in 1914, Dr Murray and Dr Garrett Anderson founded the feminist organisation ‘Women’s Hospital Corps’ and opened two military hospitals in France, staffed entirely by women. The hospitals were such a success that in 1915, the British War Office invited them to set up a hospital in London for returning soldiers. This became the Endell Street Military Hospital. The hospital treated more than 26,000 seriously injured soldiers.
Read our Twitter thread to find out more about Flora’s remarkable story.
The Royal Free Charity owns and curates the art collection on display across the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Its portrait of Dr Murray, by British artist Francis Dodd, is the image that appears on the £100 banknote unveiled by the Bank of Scotland last year.