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Edith Cavell

(1865-1915), Nurse

20th Century Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 6 portraits
Born and educated in Norfolk within a family with strong religious beliefs, Cavell worked as a governess in Essex and Brussels. After returning to England to help care for her ill father, she trained as a nurse and by 1907 became the matron of a nurse's training school in Brussels; this school revolutionised nursing and saw it transformed into a serious profession. When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914 Cavell began to assist in the escape of allied soldiers, with the school becoming a crucial part of the resistance network; spies and informers became suspicious and she was arrested after aiding the escape of at least 200 men; she confessed and was executed by firing squad at dawn on 12 October, 1915.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Edith Cavell, by Unknown photographer - NPG x4185

Edith Cavell

by Unknown photographer
photogravure postcard print, 1910s
NPG x4185

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack, by Unknown photographer - NPG x200187

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack

by Unknown photographer
woven silk postcard, 1915
NPG x200187

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack, by Unknown photographer - NPG x46560

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack

by Unknown photographer
bromide postcard print, 1915
NPG x46560

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack, after Unknown photographer - NPG D32742

Edith Cavell with Don and Jack

after Unknown photographer
photogravure, 1915 or after
NPG D32742

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