This is far too exciting not to share. In a recent meeting with LC Robertson, she mentioned that she was the lucky owner of a copy of the Northern Herald Books edition of A Manchester Shirtmaker, which included a reproduction of the only known portrait of the author Margaret Harkness (John Law). It had originally appeared in the journal The Queen in 1890, alongside a biographical profile of the author.
Based on this image, LC Robertson and Harkness biographer Terry Elkiss analysed a group photograph of the Matchwomen’s Strike committee, taken in 1888. Harkness was known to have been involved in organising the strike alongside Annie Besant and Herbert Burrows. They reached the conclusion that the woman seated front centre may well be Harkness.
Many of us Harkness aficionados had accepted up until this point that no likeness of the author and social campaigner had survived. In other words, we have waited since 1890 for a portrait…
My own post on Harkness’s novel In Darkest London appeared on the London Fictions website on 25 May.
30/08/2013 Bad news: Unfortunately, further research by Dr Elkiss has shown that the figure in the committee photo above cannot be Margaret Harkness, but is instead likely to be one of the Matchwomen themselves. Then again, having found one likeness, it would not to become greedy. Terry’s research continues.