Our Cousin Florence
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 Our Cousin Florence


18 March – 31 December 2016
(Fashion Galleries at Lotherton Hall)


Lotherton Hall presents 'Our Cousin Florence', an exhibition exploring a more personal side to history’s most famous nurse!

Before Florence Nightingale became ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, she was part of a large, fashionable Victorian family. Florence's beloved cousin, Marianne Nicholson, spent time at Lotherton Hall, which became the home of her daughter Gwendolen.

The exhibition will follow Florence and Marianne's lives from childhood to coming out as debutantes and ultimately to adulthood, where their lives would take different paths. Newly-discovered family letters and intimate sketches will shed light on the close relationship between the cousins, while examples of fashions from the period bring to life the dazzling social whirl and culture they enjoyed together. 

This is a unique opportunity to discover more about the early life of Florence Nightingale and to understand how she became the celebrated figure we know today!

Click to expandLotherton's link to the Lady with the Lamp

Lotherton Hall was the home of Gwendolen Gascoigne, Florence’s goddaughter and the daughter of her cousin, Marianne Nicholson. It was also the place Marianne retreated to after the death of her husband Sir Douglas Galton in 1899.

Newly discovered archive material belonging to Marianne revealed the story of the cousins' friendship. It includes a fascinating bundle of letters from Florence to Marianne. 

Items on display throughout the house also include paintings, childhood sketches, jewellery, toys and the desk that belonged to Florence Nightingale, brought to Lotherton Hall by Gwendolen Gascoigne.