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Culture notes

Even near the front line, there were flowers on the ward

Ten paintings by Victor Tardieu depicting the pioneering work of first world war nurses are on show at the Florence Nightingale Museum

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

It’s the tub of bright red geraniums at the heart of the picture that startles. How did anyone have time (or energy) to water these bright, hopeful flowers amid the chaos of a field hospital in early 1915? ‘Tents with Stores and Flower Tub’ is one of ten paintings by Victor Tardieu in the Florence Nightingale Museum’s latest exhibition, dedicated to the pioneering work of the first world war nurses.

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‘The Hospital in the Oatfield: The Art of Nursing in the First World War’ is at the Florence Nightingale Museum, London SE1, until 26 October. The catalogue, edited by Natasha McEnroe and Tig Thomas, includes reproductions of Tardieu’s paintings, photographs of the camp taken by a surgeon and a series of illuminating essays.

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