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Family album featuring drawings of Florence Nightingale to go on show

Curators hope the exhibition, which is being staged 200 years after her birth, will shine a spotlight on Nightingale as an older woman.

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A family album unearthed last year contains depictions of Florence Nightingale (Yui Mok/PA)

A family album unearthed last year contains depictions of Florence Nightingale (Yui Mok/PA)

A family album unearthed last year contains depictions of Florence Nightingale (Yui Mok/PA)

A family album featuring portraits of The Lady With The Lamp, uncovered after 100 years, will go on display for the first time at a Florence Nightingale exhibition.

Nightingale’s aunt, Ann Elizabeth Nicholson, started the book, which was passed down through generations of the Nightingale-Nicholson family before becoming buried in papers for more than a century.

The album, which was unearthed by the family last year, contains some depictions of  Nightingale, among the drawings by both families.

A curator holds the gold watch carried by Florence Nightingale throughout the Crimean War (Yui Mok/PA)

The exhibition will also feature the watch that Nightingale wore throughout the Crimean War, on display for the first time.

Florence Nightingale Museum director David Green said: “These two items bring us closer to two important aspects of Florence’s life – the Crimean War work which propelled her to fame, and her tight family bonds.

“The family album is a wonderful find …

“Florence’s international fame endures because her achievements were utterly transformative and the whole exhibition is designed to surprise people whose knowledge of Florence Nightingale doesn’t go much beyond The Lady With The Lamp.”

Florence Nightingale aged 86
Florence Nightingale aged 86 (PA)

Curators hope the exhibition, being staged 200 years after her birth, will shine a spotlight on Nightingale as an older woman.

Nightingale is often pictured in her thirties, when she nursed wounded soldiers in the Crimean War.

The exhibition, in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital in London, aims to also remember the triumphs of the more mature woman.

Nightingale rocketed to fame during the Crimean War, and became known as The Lady With The Lamp because she would check British soldiers throughout the night.

But she shunned the limelight and returned home as Mrs Smith.

The new exhibition explores the next 50 years of her life, when she revolutionised nursing and transformed healthcare.

She also suffered physical illness and depression, now thought to have been post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other exhibition highlights, previously announced, include “the lamp”, in reality the Turkish lantern she carried during the Crimean War, and a recording of Nightingale’s voice, when she was aged in her seventies.

A photograph – not from the album – shows her in bed at the age of 86, four years before she died at the age of 90.

The album is owned by Lotherton Hall, part of Leeds Museums And Galleries.

Nightingale In 200 Objects, People & Places runs from March 8 2020 to March 7 2021 at the Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank. 

PA