ⓘ Lena Connell

Lena Connell

ⓘ Lena Connell

Adelina Beatrice "Lena" Connell became Beatrice Cundy was a British suffragette and a well known photographer whose work is held in the British National Portrait Gallery. She was known professionally as Lena Connell and as Beatrice Cundy.


1. Life

Connell was born in London in 1875 to Frederic and Catherine Connell. Her father and his had built high class watches known as chronometers, but her fathers interest moved to photography before he became a salesperson. The photography business made his daughters Dora and Alina into photographers assistants and Adelina/Lenas career path was decided.

Connell started her own photography business and employed female staff. She was said to be the first woman photographer to take pictures of male subjects.

Connell took pictures of leading members of the Womens Freedom League as well as Emmeline Pankhurst and other suffrage leaders. She was intrigued by the suffrage cause after she was employed to take pictures of the suffragette Gladice Keevil after she was released from prison. Photographs of leading suffragettes were made into postcards and copies were sold to supporters as a method of raising funds. Connell was a member of the WSPU in Hampstead and she collaborated with Cicely Hamilton on Edith Craigs production of her iconic play "A Pageant of Women" by the Pioneer Players. Connells resulting portraits of the leading producers and players, Ellen Terry, Christopher St John, Hamilton and Craig, were exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in 1910/1911.

In 1911 Connell was advertising for an assistant in "The Suffragette" magazine to work at her studio in St Johns Wood. In 1922 Connell closed her shop and decided to specialise in "at-home" photography using her married name of Beatrice Cundy.