This isone of a series of posts highlighting some small, relatively inexpensive things to do, to eat, to try in the greater Southland area. Some of these things you’ll know about. Some of these things may be new to you. Either way, they’ll be in the Tags section (to your right) under “Simple Pleasures”.
And heck, I’m not claiming a totality of all knowledge about these things. If you’ve got a Los Angeles Simple Pleasure, send it along, and we’ll try to put it up in a future posting.
Today’s simple pleasure: Going to see the bust of Mary Seacole at the Getty Center.
Mary Seacole was basically a Nurse-slash-Hostess during the Crimean War. She had a gotten a lot of knowledge about herbs and medicine while growing up in the Caribbean. When the Crimean War broke out, she applied to the War Office to serve, but was refused…one would suspect because of her race, though experience seems to be the official line taken. She went instead on her own, making her own Hotel/Hospital for the wounded soldiers there. After the war, when she faced destitution, those same Soldiers came to her aid and raised money for her.
The Getty Center’s website, put it this way:
An extraordinary Jamaican woman, Mary Seacole traveled extensively in Central and South America, where she learned to treat yellow fever and cholera. During the Crimean War, she followed the troops as a sutler, one of the many people offering hospitality services and running inns, bars, and restaurants. In the Ukraine, in addition to running a hotel, she supplied medical services to British troops on the front line, remaining even longer than her fellow nurse Florence Nightingale. After the war, Seacole published her autobiography, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, which became a huge popular and commercial success. By the time Henry Weekes executed this bust in 1859, she was a household name in England.
For whatever reason, she remains a controversial figure in England to this day. But that doesn’t take away from the breathtaking beauty of this bust. Look at it. Beyond everything else about the statue, the craft, the skill and the patience it took to craft it (bang up job there, Henry Weekes), it’s simply beautiful. She’s beautiful to look at. Trust me, this picture does not do it justice…and I took the dang picture!
Getting up to the Getty is no simple thing. And while the Tickets are free, I know Parking can cost a bit…as in the $15 buck range.
Still, if you’re going to the Getty, you should seek out this bust, given its own place of honor in the museum. Ask for it. I think it’s one of the great things to see in Los Angeles.
Good job, Mr. Getty.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, 90049