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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Better Hospital Environments

​At Dorset County Hospital we have around 500 artworks either commissioned or purchased for the public and clinical spaces, as well as a number of loan works from Arts Council England, Paintings in Hospitals and individual artists. Arts in Hospital aims to enhance the hospital environment, raise the patients' spirits and give pleasure to all who are concerned with their welfare – helping Dorset to feel better. ​​

 Image: Red and Blue Crayons by Peter Logan.

A brief history of Arts in Hospital

In 1987, the Vice Chairman of the hospital, Val Pitt-Rivers, started Arts in Hospital with the help of a few friends. Since her retirement in 1998 she has continued to support us as an active patron. Her first committee was responsible for some of our most iconic artworks such as the Red & Blue Crayons by Peter Logan and the Dog by Dame Elisabeth Frink, a founder patron of Arts in Hospital.​

After the opening of Phase 1 of the new Dorset County Hospital in 1987, the internal courtyards became the main focus of the arts project. The first to be completed was the Waterfall Courtyard by the sculptor Hamish Horsley. Soon after followed the courtyard to house Elisabeth Frink's Dog, which was designed by artist Christopher Tipping, and then the Bird Garden designed by John Hubbard with stone fragments engraved by Richard Grasby.

 Dog by Elizabeth Frink, Courtyard design by Chris Tipping​

While Phase 2 of the hospital was at the planning stage, Arts in Hospital involved the artists Richard Harris in the development of the main central courtyards and Martin Donlin in designing glass artwork to be integrated into the new Accident & Emergency waiting area. This led to a successful application to Arts Council England for a National Lottery award of £330,000 which funded the major project ‘Bringing the Outside In’. The 18 commissions for the main public spaces are by nationally and internationally recognised contemporary artists including David Nash, John Hubbard, Martin Parr, Susan Derges, Graham Crowley, Gabriella Sancisi, Stephen Farthing and Alex Lowery.​

 Glass designs by Martin Donlin​


Art UK, is the online home for art from every public collection in the United Kingdom. ​​Art UK is for everyone who wants to see art, visit art and discover the stories behind the art of the United Kingdom. Explore the Collection at Dorset County Hospital here:​ http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/view_as/list/search/keyword:dorset-county-hospital​​​

The Collection

Agnes by Mike Chapman (2004)

Agnes, a life-sized wooden carthorse made from recycled timber, was part of the temporary exhibition', Safari' in 2004. Thanks to the generosity of the public and members of staff we raised £8,000 and so were able to keep her at DCH. Find her on Level 2 link corridor between South and East Wings.​

The Dog by Dame Elizabeth Frink (1994)

Sculpture in bronze donated by the artist, a former patron of Arts in Hospital. Courtyard paving by Chris Tipping. Situated in the courtyard adjacent to Surgical Outpatients Department Level 1

 Light Inside 1 by ​Carol Roberston ​

One of two paintings that mark the entrance to the Chapel. Four small works on paper inside the Chapel continue the motif of the circle which refers both to its recurrence in philosophy and religion as well as reflecting the architectural form of the Chapel. The large paintings are made up of intensely-coloured circles which draw the eye in to focus on their subtle surface and texture built up with layers of translucent and opaque glazes.​ Outside the chapel, South Wing Level 3​. 

The Mere, Cogden by John Hubbard (1998) 

 Two oil paintings on canvas, a diptych which combines to form one continuous image reflecting the Mere at its sunniest. South Wing Level 2


The River Taw by Susan Derges (1997/8)

Five photograms made by submerging paper in the water at night, charting the river from source to sea and winter to summer. East Wing Level 1​

West Bay 2 by Alex Lowery (1998)

Six paintings in oil on canvas, exploringthe form and light of a Dorset harbour town.
East Wing Level 0

Open Sky, Curving Stone by Richard Harris (1997)

Three dry stone wall sculpture courtyards in Purbeck Stone, designed in collaboration with 4D Landscape Design. This commission received an RSA Art in Architecture award and a grant from the Henry Moore Foundation. 

Bull 2000 by Jonathan Delafield Cook ​

Jonathan Cook’s commission for the hospital is the Bull on Level 3 in the South Wing. People are often astounded that the Bull is a drawing in charcoal on canvas rather than a photograph.​

Dorset Close-up by Martin Parr, twenty photographs​

Level 2 South WingCorridor outside of Illchester Ward.

​Medical Outpatients

​​Postcard wall vinyl to brighten up waiting room

For one Medical Out Patients Department, we used their collection of postcards to create a personalised wall vinyl with a colourful pin board inspired artwork in order to brighten up their waiting room. Designed by Arts in Hospital volunteer and artist Gwen Hughes alongside our Arts Administrator Natasha Lummes, the aim of the design is to introduce the hospital staff, who will be able to recognise some of the postcards that they sent the department over the year. ​​

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© Dorset County Hospital 2013

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