Florence the Woman

 ‘Florence Nightingale at Embley Meditating on her Great Enterprise’, by Parthenope Nightingale, 1854

Display No. 179

Painted by her sister Parthenope, here we can see young Florence seated by a fire with a pensive facial expression. The work is titled ‘Florence Nightingale at Embley Meditating on her Great Enterprise’, and was painted shortly before she departed for Scutari Hospital during the Crimean War.

Her shoulders hang as if weighed down by the task ahead of her. Florence had complete conviction in her desire to serve God by helping others, but she was not immune to feelings of inadequacy.

Watercolour on paper by Parthenope Nightingale, ‘Florence Nightingale at Embley Meditating on her Great Enterprise’, 1854. Image courtesy of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

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Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!