Derby Museums is marking the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth this year with a number of special exhibitions celebrating her life and work, including a rare portrait on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the COMING HOME project.
COMING HOME is a project which sees the National Portrait Gallery lend 50 portraits of iconic individuals to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated. These artworks will be available for audiences to see in local museums, galleries and other venues, along with special programming available for families and communities.
The painting, on loan to Derby Museums from the National Portrait Gallery – The Mission of Mercy, painted by artist Jerry Barrett in 1857 – portrays Florence Nightingale attending wounded soldiers at Scutari, Turkey, during her time there as a nurse during the Crimean War.
An English social reformer and statistician, Florence Nightingale is credited as a founder of modern nursing, and came from a wealthy, reformist Derbyshire family who had a home at Lea Hurst near Matlock. This is the first time the painting will be returned to Derbyshire since having been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1993.