4. CRIMEAN WAR II – Transformation
Original Acrylic on Canvas, 24”h x 24”w, Framed
“How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
The Crimean War was far away from England. The Black Sea was a place of ships sparing, cannons blazing, and supplies sinking into the dark waters. Scutari was just across the bay from Constantinople. The ships brought supplies from women back in England who sewed for their men in war. Florence brought some of her own supplies, including ipecac, to help heal the wounded. The dead were buried with headstones up on the hill overlooking the war zone. She would ride side-saddle up the long road to look down upon the area. The soldiers made a special carriage out of a vegetable cart for Miss Nightingale to travel as she was stricken with the Crimean Fever and her health compromised greatly. Also on the fields of war, there was a half-Jamaican, half-Scottish widow woman who wanted to join Florence’s band of nurses.
Mary Seacole tried to join Florence’s ranks, but was turned down. Strong-minded and knowledgeable, as well as being a trained herbalist, Mary also offered the soldiers an alternative place for respite, nursing care, and supplies at her British Hotel. She was dark-skinned and just as deliberate as Florence when it came to taking care of the wounded and sick. She would go down to the depot where the ships came in and load up her mule with food and medicines, too. There was certainly enough room for others to come and help take care of the thousands of British soldiers fallen and injured in this war. Mary was to go on to also be a British and Jamacian war heroine when she returned home nearly penniless; the British people rallied and came to her aid as she spent her life’s fortune helping the soldiers in their war. On the other hand, Florence had money from her family to help fund her needs and pay her nurses. However, it was Florence who through her statistical work for the first time graphed how mortality declined from 42% to 2%, a result of her nursing care - the soldiers no longer had to fear dying in the hospital once injured on the field of war. She endured and through her long, arduous work, commanded the utmost loyalty and respect from the soldiers and the Crown.
“People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing.
The effect is on the body, too.
Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by color, and light,
we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect.
Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients, are actual means of recovery.”
• The Crimean War and The Black Sea (Scutari map)
• Supplies included metal dishes, sheets, blankets, and hand-made woolen socks from England.
• Flo’s medicine chest is at the Florence Nightingale Museum (London).
• Burial grounds up on the mountain.
• Flo’s original carriage is on display at the Florence Nightingale Museum (London).
• Mary Seacole in her famous yellow dress, red shawl, and blue hat with red ribbons carrying her leather medicine bag and pulling her packed mule by her famous British Hotel.
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