March 8th is International Women’s Day.
Today’s offering, left over from the FEMbruary figure challenge, is Mary Seacole the Jamaican nurse or sutleress who supported British troops during the disastrous Crimean War.
Conversion possibilities for other Mary Seacole figures
Whilst Florence Nightingale figures are fairly scarce, Mrs. Seacole figures are even more so.
Before I found this smaller 28mm figure I was a bit stumped about where to find a suitable larger figure to convert. I was considering a conversion of a 54mm Queen Victoria figure.
The other alternative I have found in 54mm is an old bashed Britain’s aged civilian lady sitting down, set 5028, who arrived oddly repainted in a job lot of scrap figures. She could easily paint up as Mother Seacole.
The other figure that looks fit for conversion is a OO HO twenty mm Airfix female figure from their superb Wild West pioneer Waggon Train set, sadly now out of production but available secind hand online. One of the figures has a potential look of a tiny Mary Seacole.
I had no plans to complete this 28mm Mary Seacole figure in this FEMbruary 2018 challenge as I had enough targets already. She will be painted at some point during the year or next FEMbruary! When I get around to painting this 28mm miniature figure, there are many useful illustrations of her and an interesting story behind her National Portrait Gallery portrait.
To read more about Mary Seacole (1805 -1881) and her British Hotel in the Crimea, a good place to start is her Wikipedia entry
Mary Seacole’s gravestone in London has recently been restored. Her autobiography is still in print, a Penguin Classic. There are lots of Mary Seacole book and web resources, many of them aimed at children, thanks to her inclusion and retention with Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell in the Primary school History curriculum in Britain.
Punch Magazine at the time dubbed her “Our Own Vivandiere“. Daughter of a Scottish soldier and a Caribbean mother, Mary was born in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. Mary Seacole topped the Top 100 Black Britons in a recent 2004 poll.
She might not have many tiny metal figures, however Mary Seacole now has a fine new 10 foot high statue by sculptor Martin Jennings in London, complete with a cast of the ground of the Crimean battlefield where she had her base. It is believed to be the first statue in the UK to honour a named black woman.
It is inscribed with words written in 1857 by The Times’ Crimean War correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell: “I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.”
Mary Seacole is also celebrated at the Florence Nightingale Museum in London. She features on their website with some interesting contemporay Crimean prints shown.
More about International Women’s Day
and the ‘Celebrate the Ladies Month’ March challenge on the Cupcakes and Machetes blog, featuring a range of blog links from reading female authors to others painting more female fantasy miniatures projects.
Reading more of Emily, Charlotte, Ann (and Branwell) Bronte’s juvenile fictional worlds of GlassTown, Gondal and Angria to look for further gaming scenarios probably counts as my literary contribution to reading female authors.
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
I was quite amused searching through for Seacole figures to find this accidental head and shoulders portrait. 🙂
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 8 March 2018 on International Women’s Day 2018.
5 thoughts on “Mary Seacole and the Crimean War”
Interesting post Mark. I was unaware of Mrs Seacole.
The Britain’s figures are very nice and it’s always great to see the old Wagon Train civilians getting an outing.
Thanks MJT Jack. Florence Nightingale, yes, famous enough when I was child but I had not heard of Mrs Seacole until I came across her autobiography about 20years ago. I have always been fascinated by the muddle of the Crimean War, still an overlooked and a neglected period. To have photographs of all this for the first time – amazing. I have seen a few of these Seacole figures online painted up as generic civilians or vivandieres to use in other gaming periods. That is also partly the joy of the 20mm Airfix Waggon Train figures that can be used in so many periods and gaming scenarios – I bought several more boxes whilst they were reissued a few years back. The children of this set work as useful 15mm men and women as well.
That’s two historic ladies you’ve now informed me about that I had not heard of. Great work!
Hello Cupcakes (and Ignited Moth)
Thanks for your kind comments and your March blog challenge. Glad you have enjoyed reading about Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and Emmeline Pankhurst. I have enjoyed reading both your blog posts and your other contributors posts (including biographies in 280 characters) about famous or forgotten women, historic figures that often get overlooked. They certainly don’t get miniature figures made very often of them but I shall keep tracking them down and posting them online. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games has been good at finding or producing believable female miniatures. Many thanks Mark, Man of TIN
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I’m not sure where you discover all these figures! The Mary Seacole one looks terrific and your conversions could be inspired choices. Not sure if you’ve ever seen the Horrible Histories episode with Mary Seacole singing and Crimean War British line infantrymen formation dancing behind her?