Amulets collected by Florence Nightingale

ceramic hippopotamus figures, standing on their rear legs

The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was 29 when she visited Egypt with two friends in the winter of 1849-50. She was one of the first Western women to make such a journey and she carried home small antiquities as souvenirs.

They include these two amulets of Taweret, a goddess who protected women and children during childbirth. Births usually took place inside the home, so Taweret was seen as a household god and there were no temples dedicated to her.

Taweret’s name means 'the great one' and she is usually shown as a standing pregnant hippopotamus, with lion’s legs and a crocodile’s tail down her back.

Florence’s collection of 42 antiquities was presented to World Museum by her friend, Rosalind Nash, in 1949 in response to the museum’s call for help in rebuilding the collections following wartime destruction.

You can see these amulets and more objects from Florence Nightingale's collection on display in the Ancient Egypt gallery at World Museum. Find out more about them in our online collection pages.