A photograph of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale – said to have been taken shortly before her death – sold for twelve times more than expected at auction.

The black and white photo, taken by society photographer Lizzie Caswall Smith in 1910, sold for £5,500 in a lot that included the original negative. It had been expected to fetch no more than around £500.

The 16×21.5cm print shows Nightingale in bed at her London home, aged 90. On the back a pencil-written note reads: ?Florence Nightingale taken just before she died/House nr Park Lane [London]/The only photograph I ever took out of studio ? I shall never forget the experience.?

The lot also included a second negative – showing minor movement to Nightingale?s head and right hand ? plus a manuscript granting permission for the portrait session.

Known as the Lady of the Lamp, Florence Nightingale rose to fame for her treatment of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War.

Her work established nursing as a respectable profession for women and led to the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St Thomas? Hospital in London.

The image, which belonged to the photographer?s descendents, went under the hammer at Dreweatts auctioneers in Newbury, Berkshire.

Picture: Courtesy, Dreweatts, Newbury

Florence Nightingale photograph