‘Final’ Photos of Florence Nightingale to Go Up for Auction in London

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A rare personal collection of items relating to Florence Nightingale Credit: Roseberys

The nursing pioneer, Florence Nightingale was famous for her remarkable role in attending to soldiers who got injured in the 1850s due to the Crimean War. Known for championing formal nursing education by building the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London, she was celebrated throughout her life.

Now, what is said to be her last photo during her days in the world is expected to go up for auction in London on Thursday, December 14. Popularly known as the ‘lady with the lamp’ because of her check-ups on the soldiers at night, her photos have been auctioned for several dollars since her death.

The next picture of Florence Nightingale to be auctioned portrays her sitting calmly and quietly in an armchair. The auction in London will also put up other items belonging to Nightingale, including a teacup and letters given to her companion in her later days.

According to auction house Roseberys in London, the last images of Florence were taken by her close friend Eliza Francis “Fanny” Pettit.

In a bid to authenticate the acquired photo as one of the last images taken of Nightingale, a work of art specialist at Roseberys, Jack Wallis explained to CNN that the history behind the photographs makes it believable and true that they were taken in 1910, the year the former passed on.

“The family history behind these photographs leads us to believe that they may be the final images taken of Nightingale.

“We can be certain that they were taken in 1910, and as such almost certainly in the final weeks or months of Nightingale’s life,” he said.

The photos were exclusively exhibited at the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, confirming their authenticity, Wallis added.

Jack further shared that “What makes them so special is their personal, candid nature – they are informal shots captured for posterity by a close friend to remember a much-loved principal.”

Roseberys estimates Nightingale’s lot to sell at £25,000.

Florence Nightingale was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit. Born on May 12, 1820, International Nurses Day is celebrated yearly to acknowledge Nightingale’s contributions to the health sector. She died on August 13, 1910, in her Mayfair home in London. Her family described her death as peaceful and void of suffering.


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