Paintings in Hospitals
Paintings in Hospitals aims to transform the UK's health by using world-class art to inspire better health and wellbeing for patients, carers and communities.
Studies show that art can help anyone stay well, aid the recovery from illness and injury, and support anyone to live longer, more fulfilling lives. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience these benefits.
Paintings in Hospitals is committed to bringing world-class art to everybody by providing artwork loans and art activities to all types of healthcare and social care.
They work in partnership with patients and carers to transform and humanise clinical environments using museum-quality art from their collection. Through art activities and creative workshops, we empower patients and carers with the skills and voice to make their own decisions about art, their care environment and their care experience.
By working together in this way, and sharing their knowledge, Paintings in Hospitals can create care spaces that support the wellbeing and enrich the lives of everyone.
Paintings in Hospitals is the UK's leading national arts in health charity but their beginnings were much smaller. In 1959, in a busy hospital corridor, Sheridan Russell fixed an artwork to the wall...
Sheridan was Britain's first male almoner. The almoners were the pioneers of what they now call Social Work. They believed that medical treatment could be made better by improving aftercare and the care environment. Sheridan worked at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and had started displaying artworks in waiting rooms and wards. He noticed people’s reactions to these new artworks and began to see just how important art could be to our health and wellbeing.
With help from the Nuffield Foundation, Sheridan set out to create a special art collection. This would become the Paintings in Hospitals collection: the first and only national collection of art to support people’s physical and mental health.
Through the years, Sheridan inspired more people to see the importance of art in healthcare. Sir Dennis Proctor (former Chair of Tate), Roger de Grey (former President of the Royal Academy of Arts) and many more Patrons, trustees and supporters joined the Paintings in Hospitals mission. Together, they helped our charity’s impact grow.
Sheridan believed that everyone should be able to experience the health benefits of art, regardless of situation or location. So, in the 1980s, we began to develop a regional network, enabling care sites outside of London to access our services and borrow our art. In 1991, we provided seed funding for Paintings in Hospitals Scotland, which has since become Art in Healthcare.
Today, Paintings in Hospitals works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They care for 3,900 artworks in our collection, many by world-famous artists. We use our collection to inspire art walks, artist projects and creative activities. And they work side-by-side with patients and care staff to help create care spaces that are encouraging, enriching and empowering.
They hope Sheridan would be proud.See more