Remembering Mary Seacole

Two events will be held in May in honor of Mary Seacole (1805–May 14, 1881), the intrepid Jamaican nurse and world traveler who took part in the Crimean War [also see previous post Rare Photograph of Mary Seacole Discovered]. Historian Helen Rappaport will deliver a lecture on Seacole’s lost (and found) portrait on Thursday, May 6, 2010, at 2:30pm at The Wallace Collection (Hertford House) in Manchester Square, London (W1U 3BN). Tickets for the event cost £10.

Also, on Saturday, May 8, 2010, the Mary Seacole Memorial Association will hold a Wreath-Laying Service for the heroic nurse, who wrote Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands (1857). The service will be held at 11:00am in the Chapel in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery on Harrow Road, Kensal Rise, London (NW10 5NY). The service will be followed by a luncheon for which there is charge of £8.

Lecture description: In December 2003 historian Helen Rappaport experienced the ultimate serendipity when she discovered a lost portrait of the Crimean War heroine and nurse, Mary Seacole. The portrait, its sitter and the artist himself had all been lost to history since Mary Seacole’s death in 1881. But who was the mysterious ‘A. C. Challen’ who had executed what is now an iconic portrait that graces the National Portrait Gallery? In this talk Helen Rappaport will chart her extraordinary voyage of discovery–through the portrait’s authentification by the National Portrait Gallery and her loan of it to them, to her search for the portrait’s till then unknown artist. [Portrait shown above.]

For further details on the lecture, contact Kristin Panasewicz at 020 7225 4870 or write to

For more details on the Mary Seacole Wreath-Laying Service, please contact the secretary Charmaine Case at

For more information on Mary Seacole Memorial Association, see

For more on the portrait, see

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