A collection of ancient Egyptian amulets acquired by Florence Nightingale in the winter of 1849 when she went on an adventurous Egyptian holiday are going on display for the first time – and the curator at the World Museum in Liverpool is rather more impressed by them than the Lady of the Lamp herself was.
Five years before she sailed to Scutari, Istanbul, during the Crimean war, Nightingale travelled to Egypt at a time when mass tourism there was in its infancy. She wrote vivid letters home to her older sister, Parthenope, who later published them, but described her little amulets as “rubbish”.
“What she brought back is fascinating to us, but I think she expected to be offered ancient treasures and she was very disappointed with what was available,” he said. “Ironically we are displaying some of the objects which she did rate and was very pleased at getting hold of – which have turned out, alas, to be fakes.”
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