Mary Seacole and the Crimean War

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.

 

Mary Seacole as sculpted in 28mm by Martin Baker,  special  figure at the Other Partizan 2016
IMG_3052
A quick wipeover with brown Acrylic and wipeoff with cloth before it dries brings out the details of the figure (a technique known as “pewtering”)
img_3048
Rear view of this figure with  fine clothing details.

Conversion possibilities for other Mary Seacole figures

Whilst Florence Nightingale figures are fairly scarce, Mrs. Seacole figures are even more so.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fembruary-post-2-a-few-more-female-figures-and-a-florence/

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.

Until I found the 28mm figure, I was considering converting this rather stern looking Queen Victoria 54mm casting from Dorset Soldiers into a suitable Mary Seacole 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.

IMG_3143
A possible conversion figure for Mother Seacole, this seated 54mm  lead civilian woman from Britain’s Ltd.  Already repainted from a job lot, she arrived appropriately with a roughly repainted nurse figure.  Military nurse figures would make a good  future FEMbruary blogpost.

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.

IMG_3142
The central female civilian from the Airfix Waggon Train set has a Mary Seacole look about her. To her left is a another female  figure from this OO HO 20mm set, a useful gaming figure who crops up in gaming scenarios as the Governor General’s Daughter, Daughter of the Regiment etc (and usually armed with a handy pistol). Not quite painted yet.

 

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.

https://www.npg.org.uk/learning/digital/history/mary-seacole

To read more about Mary Seacole (1805 -1881) and her British Hotel in the Crimea, a good place to start is her Wikipedia entry

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Seacole

 

IMG_3144
Useful colour and details from her portrait that have been used on the small metal figure.

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.

http://www.100greatblackbritons.com/bios/mary_seacole.html

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.

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/resources/mary-seacole/?v=79cba1185463

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/2017/07/23/museum-poetry-mother-seacole/?v=79cba1185463

More about International Women’s Day

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/fembruary-post-no-4-a-womans-right-to-vote-and-serve-march/

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.

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/celebrate-the-ladies-blog-event/

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/celebrate-the-ladies-weekly-update-1/

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.

Advertisements

#FEMbruary post 2 A Few More FEMale Figures and a Florence

 

IMG_2994
(Asset Miniatures MA23) Flower Seller with fantastic non nonsense wrap around housecoat or pinny. You can almost hear her sing her street cries.

Having  focussed on Queens in the last FEMbruary post, I thought I would focus on slightly more ordinary or achievable  female jobs.

FEMBruary is a challenge set up by Leadballoony to focus more on the female figures in our collection as an attempt to be more inclusive as a hobby, along with all the things Annie Norman is trying to do with her believable female Miniatures stocked at Bad Squiddo Games. More on Bad Squiddo below and in my next blog post.

Here for #FEMbruary are a few more female figures from my toy soldier collection, a collection of old and new metal figures with a range of paint styles to guide my brush on my FEMbruary painting challenges.

IMG_2992
Asset Miniatures MA20 stalwart WRVS woman serving tea

The WRVS Women’s Royal Voluntary Service was one of those stalwart wartime women’s organisations which received recent and well deserved publicity in  Housewife 49, the Mass Observation WWII wartime diaries of Nella Last in Barrow in Furness. This was turned into a TV drama, written and performed by the  much missed Victoria Wood. If you have not read the diaries or seen Housewife  49, they are well worth tracking down  as a book or DVD for an interesting view of (extra)ordinary women and their families on the Home Front.

The Royal Volunteer Service now accepts male volunteers and focuses its care on older people https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/about-us/our-history

and has an interesting wartime history and  archives collection on its website.

IMG_3017
Britain’s Farm Range featured this 54mm figure, supposedly a Land Army WLA girl / woman. In need of a new right arm!

I have one of two Land Army girls, including this Britain’s figure. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games has featured some new Home Front women in 28mm including some fine Land Army Girls in three collections: working in the fields, armed with shotguns (bunnies and parachutists beware) and at picnic. More on Bad Squiddo in another post http://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2

IMG_3014
Dorset Soldiers Salvation Army Band Lasses – another figure ripe for conversion to 54mm Suffragettes? Votes For Women!

Salvation Army bands were once a popular figure for Britain’s and other manufacturers, still highly collectable.

For more modern civilians there are always those sets of plastic civilians for model railways sold online unpainted.  This young woman has a 1940s / 1950s look.

IMG_3015
Work in progress on a Gloss finish plastic railway civilian 54mm. 

Still need to do some work “putting her face on” before she goes out with a serious case of panda eyes.

IMG_3016

Another distinctive and smart young woman in uniform was the Nippy.

A Nippy was a waitress who worked in the J. Lyons & Co tea shops and cafés in London. Because the waitresses nipped (moved quickly) around the tea shops, the term “Nippy” came into use. Nippies wore a distinctive maid-like uniform with a matching hat, the clean uniform being part of their wholesome image. Nippies appeared (and still appear) in all manner of advertising and the Nippy soon became a national icon until the last Lyons Corner Houses shut in the Seventies .

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippy

IMG_2995
A smart Nippy waitress from the Lions Corner House (Asset Miniatures MA6)
IMG_2996
Oops, Ma’am! Laddered stockings on this Nippy requiring a quick paintbrush repair.

 

A Famous Crimean Nurse

Another recurring female figure in hollowcast metal and plastic ranges, apart from the odd squaw or a farm worker, was the army or civilian nurse. I have picked up a range of nurses (mostly in job lots)  which could fill a whole future blogpost.

However the most famous nurse of them all is also featured in the recent Corgi Forward March range. Here is the other  figure link to The Crimean War, which was  mentioned in our last blog post about Queen Victoria and the first VCs. The Crimea is a curious, mismanaged and  inglorious conflict that has always fascinated me. There was a Peter Laing 15mm Crimean War range that I wish I had bought but no nurses were featured.

Florence Nightingale rightly has her own nursing Museum in London, http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

and several biographies and blogs http://www.florence-nightingale-avenging-angel.co.uk/?p=861

Until the New National  Gove Curriculum threatened to remove her and other historic figures,  Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War had long been a  part of the old National Curriculum primary history syllabus in Britain, along with Mary Seacole and Queen Victoria. I know some weary Primary school teachers who were pleased at the prospect of never having to teach Florence Nightingale again after years and years. However she was retained, as you can see below.

I  wish we had done the Crimean War at school.

Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell and Mary Seacole along with Suffragettes and Queen Victoria are still  suggested primary school content for British five to seven year olds:

“the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study#key-stage-1 

 

IMG_3001

The Corgi Forward March Miniatures limited edition range featured several other women and some handy mini biographies of each figure. They have a simple and attractive ‘hand painted’ paint finish.

IMG_2998

Part of a limited edition distribution worldwide.

IMG_2999

Few figures exist of Mary Seacole, the Jamaican Nurse and Sutleress who also served in the Crimea, although I have tracked down one recent 28mm limited edition which will feature on a future blog post.

Looks like FEMbruary might carry on past the 28th February this year at this rate.

So there you are, a range of believable female miniatures and female job roles from Nippy to nurse, flower seller to Florence Nightingale, from Sally Army Lasses and Land Army Girls  to Suffragettes.

Cakes and tea supplied by the WRVS and the Lyons Corner House Nippy.

More to follow …

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN  during FEMbruary 2018

Blog Post Script B.P.S.

I was saddened to hear that the sculptor of many of the Asset Miniatures figures Alan Caton died late 2015. Asset Miniatures figures like these WWII female figures above are still available secondhand online.

#FEMbruary challenge 1: Two Queens and one VC

 

 

IMG_2990
London 1945: A young Princess Elizabeth in her ATS uniform meets Civil Defence ARP workers whilst  the amazing WRVS lady provides the tea (Asset Miniatures and Britain’s Ltd.)

The first of my #FEMbruary challenges was to find and photograph some of the female figures in my toy soldier collection:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/fembruary-hobby-challenge-conversions/

This is based on a #FEMbruary challenge by Leadballoony which ImperialRebelOrk passed on, in his own words: “I would like to propose that we add Fembruary to the list – a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures for a change…”

https://leadballoony.com/2018/01/29/more-eru-kin-and-the-fembruary-challenge/

I may not have painted any of these following fine toy soldiers but they do challenge the male dominance of my toy soldier collection in a big way.

If you are going to give young women (gamers) something to identify with and aspire to, why not start with the top job?

First out of the toy soldier cabinets were two very different Queens, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria. Both are recent hand painted miniatures from William Britain’s Ltd.

IMG_2991
2006 HRH Princess  Elizabeth II in her WW2 ATS Uniform

This WWII young Princess Elizabeth is quite a different figure from her familiar Britain’s metal incarnation on horseback as Queen for Trooping the Colour.

https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/2002230/hm-queen-elizabeth-ii-b-1926-when-princess-elizabeth-trains-as-an-a-t-s-officer

A far less glamorous uniform, more in common with the sensible stockings and drab green of the WRVS lady, although I think this WW2 Princess Elizabeth figure rather “bigheaded” in its moulding.

IMG_2997

This fine Britain’s horseback Queen figure lives in a box or a display shelf. Somewhere I have a  fine parade version on her horse Burmese in the modern Britain’s Hollowcast Figure range.

Two Queens, two very different Wars, separated by a century. Two reigns ending and beginning fifty years apart.

An even finer horseback figure is the young Queen Victoria in a recent Britain’s release of Queen Victoria presenting the first VC to Commander Raby, RN for his service in the Crimea.

IMG_3007
Fine attention to detail. – The Navy were presented at first with a blue Victoria Cross, long before its current purple ribbon.
IMG_3008
The postcard shows one of the original prints or paintings by G.H. Thomas probably used as source material for this fine young  Queen Victoria figure.

Raby’s  headstone and VC are described here http://www.friendsofhighlandroadcemetery.org.uk/vc/raby.htm

IMG_3009

IMG_3011
How Commander Raby RN earned his Crimean VC, the first one presented by the young Queen Victoria.

IMG_3012

http://philatelics.org/~allan/shrop/victoriacross/firstvc2.html

These sets look good from all angles, with excellent toy soldier Gloss style painting. Having these in your collection gives  you some fine reference points.

IMG_3010

So that was the top job.

Somewhere I have a rather Davros looking,  stern  Queen Victoria in her old age (Dorset Soldiers I think) to look out and finish painting for FEMbruary.

My next #FEMbruary blogpost will feature some slightly more ordinary women than HM the Queen, women such as the WRVS lady and others,  along with another Crimean figure. A female one … any guesses?

Blogposted for #FEMbruary by Mark, Man of TIN February 10th 2018.

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Here are the candidates for my #FEMbruary challenge 2: some Featherstone Airfix footballer conversions to Wild West saloon girls …

IMG_3013

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/donald-featherstones-unusual-take-on-casualties-and-campaigns/