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Saturday 13th July 2013

Launch of Nancy: The Life and Times of Nancy Astor (exhibition)

Photograph © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage).

Viscountess Nancy Astor (1879 to 1964) was the first female MP to take a seat in the House of Commons in 1919 and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth during the Blitz.

Originally hailing from Virginia, USA she was a woman of contrasts: liked and disliked by fellow political figures of the time; fiercely independent and outspoken yet reliant on her friendships with people such as Bernard Shaw and T.E. Lawrence and on career guidance from her second husband, Viscount Waldorf Astor; wealthy yet generous; renowned for the lavish garden and dinner parties she hosted at her Cliveden estate in Buckinghamshire yet a prohibitionist and a campaigner for social causes.

This exhibition which runs until 12th October at Plymouth Museum will look at her life through four key themes: Wife and Mother, Politician and Personality, Friend and Foe and Honorary Plymothian. Items from the city's permanent collections including the outfit she wore for her introduction to Parliament, photographs, silver and a diamond necklace and earrings that she left for Plymouth's future Lady Mayoress' to wear at civic occasions, will be on display. Paintings and other works of art on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, the Government Art Collection, the Imperial War Museum and the American Museum in Bath will also be included.

Find out more about the exhibition here.