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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Mary Jane Seacole (née Grant) (1805-1881), Nurse, adventurer and writer

Paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints
Photographs

Paintings, drawings, sculpture and printsback to top


c.1855
Design by William Simpson, signed ‘Wm Simpson RI’, head-and-shoulders looking left, wearing lace cap; untraced. Repr. Robinson 2005, pl.8.

1856
Design by R.T. Landells, The Evacuation of the Crimea by the Allies, small figure in panorama view; untraced. Repr. ILN, 30 Aug. 1856, pp.214–15.

1857
Design by unidentified artist, Our Own Vivandière, whole-length, standing by bedside of wounded soldier at Springhill H., Crimea, wearing bonnet, cape and apron and holding up a copy of Punch; untraced. Repr. Punch, 30 May 1857, p.221; and Robinson 2005, pl.12.

Design by unidentified artist, half-length to front, wearing wideawake hat, scarf, jacket with military-style frogging and knapsack; untraced. Repr. as colour lithograph Seacole 1857, front cover; Robinson 2005, pl.9; and Seacole 2005, front cover.

Design by unidentified artist (possibly Henry George Hine), Mrs Seacole’s Hotel in the Crimea, nearly whole-length to right, standing in a provision-store-cum-bar, handing a glass of wine to Alexis Soyer, several other men in military uniform seated and standing; untraced. Repr. Seacole 1857, frontispiece (in some copies); and Robinson 2005, pl.13.

1871
Terracotta bust by Count Gleichen (Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg), incised on reverse ‘G. / 1871’, half life-size; Institute of Jamaica (see National M. Jamaica website). Exh. RA 1872 (1457) (‘Very clever and spirited’; ILN, 8 June 1872, p.550); repr. Modest & Barringer forthcoming, pl.0.17.
A careful copy in bronze resin, 390mm high, after Gleichen by George Kelly ('Fowokan'), 1993; exh. Beyond my Grandfathers’ Dreams, Jamaican High Commission, London, 1994.


Doubtful portrait
?Pencil drawing with white heightening by unidentified artist, half-length turned to right, half-profile to right, wearing pearls in hair and ear, V-necked gown with short sleeves and lace trim, untraced; known from photograph in National Library of Jamaica. Repr. Robinson 2005, pl.3.
Frequently reproduced in recent years as a portrait of Seacole in the 1840s, this image lacks the documentation that would confirm the identification.


Posthumous portrait

2015
Bronze sculpture by Martin Jennings, whole-length, striding forwards, large disk behind figure; to be installed outside St Thomas’ H., London, late 2015.


Photographsback to top


after 1856
Carte-de-visite by Maull & Co., whole-length to left, looking down, seated holding pestle and mortar, camp stool to left, small table to right holding jars and bottles in front of part of tall tent, with empty landscape backdrop behind; Fotolibra, coll. Amoret Tanner, FOT331845, where dated ‘c.1870’. Exh. Black Victorians, 2005/6 (69); repr. Marsh 2005c, p.146; and Robinson 2005, pl.17.
Maull & Co. traded 1873–8 but this image seems to date from the late 1850s, when Seacole’s fame was at its height and such a photograph would have been sold for fund-raising purposes. It seems possible that, after his partnership with G.H. Polyblank (begun 1854) was dissolved in 1865, Henry Maull retained the negative and reissued the carte when trading as Maull & Co.

Cabinet card by unidentified photographer, oval format, head-and-shoulders to front, wearing scarf under lace collar, large beads over bodice with V-shaped braid, and bar with 3 or 4 square objects suspended; Winchester College, Crimea album compiled by Eli Duodecimus Wigram, MS210; see MEPL, London, 10290324. Exh. Florence Nightingale M., London, 2009; New Walk AG, Leicester, 2010; and Black Cultural Archives, London, 2014.

Dr Jan Marsh