Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Rare Nightingale photo sold off

Picture of Florence Nightingale
The photograph is listed to sell for between 300 and 500

A rare photograph of Florence Nightingale has been sold for 5,500.

The picture, taken by Lizzie Caswell-Smith, shows the famous nurse in bed at home in London's Park Lane, shortly before she died aged 90 in 1910.

The lot had been listed to sell for up to 500 at auction house Dreweatts in Newbury, Berkshire, on Wednesday.

The photograph came to light when a relative of Ms Caswell-Smith's brought it in to be valued at a branch of Dreweatts in Bristol.

Auctioneer Peter Rixon said: "We have regular valuation days and this came through our Bristol office.

She essentiality remained a private person and did not seek great publicity for herself
Auctioneer Peter Rixon

"It was in amongst a bundle of documents in a carrier bag.

"It came down through family of the photographer after passing through several generations."

The black and white picture has the pencil note: "Taken just before she died, house near Park Lane.

"The only photograph I ever took out of studio. I shall never forget the experience."

Mr Rixon said photographs of Miss Nightingale were very rare.

"She essentiality remained a private person and did not seek great publicity for herself.

"So the number of known photographic images are very low, estimates suggest fewer than a dozen."

Miss Nightingale, known as the Lady with the Lamp, gained worldwide renown for her work as a nurse during the Crimean War.

She emerged as a heroine from the conflict, during which she led a team of 38 female nurses ministering to wounded soldiers in extremely difficult conditions.

A spokeswoman from Dreweatts said: "Somebody obviously really wanted it."

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