Historic paintings from the Mineral Water Hospital in Bath have been rehung and given pride of place in their new home, the recently-opened RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.
They include one of the RUH Trust’s best-known and treasured paintings, by the artist W.T. Hoare, titled ‘Dr Oliver and Mr Pierce examining patients with Paralysis, Rheumatism and leprosy’.
It is among five 18th-century paintings from the Mineral Water Hospital, locally known as the Min, that have undergone expert conservation and restoration before being transferred to their new home.
Hetty Dupays, RUH Art and Design Manager, said: “The paintings are hugely important historically and aesthetically. Their restoration has been done wonderfully and they now look magnificent and perfectly in place in the new Centre.”
The conservation treatment involved cleaning the oil paint and canvas, repairing the frames and fitting the paintings with a museum-grade UV acrylic glazing.
The glazing will protect them from UV light and pollutants, allowing them to be safely installed in the new Centre where patients, visitors and staff can continue to experience and enjoy the rich cultural heritage of our city’s medical past.
The Dr Oliver painting now hangs in the new rheumatology reception area of the Centre.
The others are displayed in prominent positions on the main stairway and the seminar room of the building. They are:
- Portrait of Henry Wright by William Hoare
- Mr John Morris, first apothecary, by English School 18th century
- Hygeia, by William Hoare
- Sir William Cockburn, attributed to Thomas Barker of Bath
It’s acknowledged that art can benefit patient care and even shorten the length of stay in hospital.
The historic paintings join modern artworks that have been specially commissioned, including a geographical timeline tracing the route of Bath’s hot springs, decorated glass panels depicting local landscapes and hydrotherapy designs, heritage wallpaper and contemporary images interpreting present-day practice.