Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born in Italy. She moved to England with her wealthy family and was educated at home by her father. Although it was not deemed suitable for ladies of Florence's social standing to become nurses, she believed that it was God's chosen path for her. She trained in Kaiserswerth, near Dusseldorf and then returned to England to take a post at a Harley Street surgery. Florence Nightingale was sent along with 38 nurses to the Barrack Hospital in Scutari to assist with medical support. As she cared for the troops she gained much respect, writing letters home on the soldiers' behalf and fighting to improve the sanitary conditions of the field hospitals. When Florence returned from the Crimea she received a hero's welcome. She published two books about her opinions on hospital reforms and campaigned for better quality nursing training until her death in August 1910.
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans
Gold enamelled brooch, presented to Florence Nightingale
Gold enamelled brooch, presented to Florence Nightingale by Queen Victoria, 1855. Gold, with diamonds and enamel, said to have been designed by Prince Albert The Prince Consort (1819-1861), manufactured by R and S Garrard and Co, 1855. Associated with the Crimean War (1854-1856). Sometimes referred to as the ?Nightingale Jewel?, this brooch, the design of which was supervised by Prince Albert, is engraved verso with a dedication from Queen Victoria, ?To Miss Florence Nightingale, as a mark of esteem and gratitude for her devotion towards the Queen?s brave soldiers, from Victoria R. 1855?. The brooch was not intended to serve merely as a piece of jewellery, but rather, in the absence of a medal or established decoration suitable for presentation to such a female civilian, it stood as a badge of royal appreciation. Date: 1855
© The National Army Museum / Mary Evans Picture Library
Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos, and Alpine accentor, Prunella collaris. . Handcolored copperplate stipple engraving from Dumont de Sainte-Croix's Dictionary of Natural Science: Ornithology, Paris, France, 1816-1830. Illustration by J. G. Pretre, engraved by Massard, directed by Pierre Jean-Francois Turpin, and published by F.G. Levrault. Jean Gabriel Pretre (1780-1845) was painter of natural history at Empress Josephine's zoo and later became artist to the Museum of Natural History.
© Florilegius / Mary Evans