A rare portrait of a Titanic survivor from St Leonards has been found by an auctioneer whose ancestor was in the same lifeboat as her.
The former suffragette Elsie Bowerman was in lifeboat 6 with auctioneer Timothy Medhurst’s great-great-grandfather Robert Hitchens and about 22 others.
The miniature portrait of the first woman barrister at the Old Bailey – who has a Blue Plaque above her former Silchester Road home – is expected to be sold for around £1,000.
It will be up for auction at Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, in March.
“This small portrait is an amazing snippet of history in which you can see a Woman of survival, dedicated to equal rights,” Mr Medhurst said.
“It is a wonderful thing to be able to look at the same lady who would have looked at my Great Grandfather over 100 years ago on board a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”
Ms Bowerman had a Blue Plaque posthumously awarded to her St Leonards home in November, 2005.
She was a member of Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union, she also witnessed the Russian Revolution in 1917 and was the first head of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 1947.
She was on the Titanic with her mother Edith, setting off from Warrior’s Square to Southampton on April 10, 1912.
When the ocean liner hit the fatal iceberg, Ms Bowerman was put onto lifeboat 6 alongside Quartermaster Mr Hitchens and Frederick Fleet, the man who spotted the iceberg.
Elsie is painted in Scottish Women’s Hospital service uniform in the portrait, which she joined during the First World War.
During World War II she worked for voluntary services, and after a time at the ministry of information, she spent three years with the Overseas Services of the BBC.
Before she died in 1973, Ms Bowerman set up the Dove-Bowerman Trust which is still going today.
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