Every piece tells a story – the history behind our Hospice artwork

  • 8 December 2021

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Large photo of the woods is displayed in the corridor

If you have visited our Hospice home at Shelford Bottom you may have had the opportunity to admire the beautiful artwork in the building and grounds.

As you might imagine, there is a story behind each picture, statue or piece of art: why it has been selected and how it has ended up here. We thought you might like to know a little more, so here is a #HospiceArtStory.


David Anthony Hall – who exhibits all over the world – has kindly provided us with stunning large-scale prints and smaller framed images of woods and trees, which tangibly bring the outside world into the Hospice’s corridors and waiting rooms.

When we were designing the Hospice building and its gardens back in 2014, nature – and the way outside areas interweaved with clinical spaces – was a key consideration. Our now well-established gardens, trees and flowers were carefully planned for by landscape designers and planted by volunteers.

As well as taking the indoor spaces outside, we wanted to bring outside spaces, and the therapeutic benefits of nature, indoors. Such an approach which has long-been recognised as critical to the wellbeing of patients and visitors (source Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 December 2010) and is one which mirrors David’s own. His landscape photos have been described as “providing soul for buildings” and he believes passionately in “using art to banish the austere reputation of clinical environments”.

Photo displayed behind a brown sofa and large plant

Pieces by David Anthony Hall on display at the Hospice include the large spring forest and circular tree canopy photographs adorning the ground floor corridor between the main Reception and Inpatient Unit, and the captivating bluebell woodland pictures situated in the Bradbury Wellness Centre and behind the sofa on the wall between our entrance and the Bistro.

Large photo of woods hangs on the wall in the corridor of the Hospice

Archival Photographs mounted in plexiglass, the photos are dazzlingly vibrant, creating an almost tactile sense of outside space. Complimenting these are a series of smaller tree portraits, dotted along the corridor which leads from the entrance to the rest of the Hospice; these smaller images catch your eye and draw you in to take a closer look.

In a previous interview published on the website mymodernmet/behind-the-lens-david-anthony-hall, David explains his ethos, and why he feels trees create such resonance:

“My images are observed from nature, particularly trees and woodland, giving an escape into the open without leaving the room. The prints are deliberately large, deriving impact from their sheer scale; they can be viewed up close–with each look revealing new details–while from afar they present vistas that entice the entire line of sight, a window through which to escape.

The effect of these images on a medical environment is tremendous; they provide a brief moment of reflection, quieting the mind in what can be a stressful environment for all concerned, whether it be patients, visitors or staff. The NHS Forest scheme has brought a terrific amount of research to light regarding the benefits of seeing nature, particularly woodland, in a medical environment, stating: ‘trees have been found to enhance mood, improve self-esteem and lower blood pressure.’ Nature has long been proven to encourage recovery, inspire a positive frame of mind, but, what is more important, it is a subject that provides a universal and subconscious appeal, perfect for medical environments.”

David initially loaned the artwork to the Charity for a fixed five-year term and has kindly offered to extend the agreement until 2026 for a nominal fee. However, he would like one day to fund the transfer of ownership of the work to the Charity in perpetuity. He also sees the potential of raising funds for the Charity and has made the novel suggestion whereby he will donate a significant percentage of the direct sale of his work through Arthur Rank Hospice, back to the Charity to help fund its vital care provided to around 4,000 patients each year.

To discuss seeing or purchasing one of his photos, please contact our fundraising team on 01223 675888 or email fundraising@arhc.org.uk

You can see photographs of David’s artworks at the Hospice (from 2016, before teams and other furnishings were moved in) on his blog at https://www.davidanthonyhall.com/blog/arthur-rank-hospice-3Utr, or discover more about his work at davidanthonyhall.com and on instagram.com/senezio or book onto one of our Open Days at the Hospice.

Read another #HospiceArtStory about our sculpture overlooking the Hospice gardens in this story about Lucy Churchill’s ‘Figure of a Woman’