Above: Bespoke inlaid flooring with a Surgeon’s leg.
I have worked at Dorset County Hospital on two previous occasions, both memorable. My association with the Trust and its Arts in Hospital Team goes back to 1993, some 26 years! This recent visit to start a new project for the Radiotherapy Unit at the recently completed Robert White Centre, was quite poignant, because I made a concerted effort, whilst there to re-connect and revisit two commissions I had previously created for the Hospital, in 1993 and 2009 respectively. I have deliberately not looked back at the files for these projects, in fact I am not sure I still have the 1993 project on record. That was definitely pre-digital.
Interesting to see things again – unplanned and in the moment and experience them anew.
The Dog Courtyard at Dorset County Hospital seen through rain spattered windows on a bad weather day. I couldn’t access the courtyard directly yesterday due to the weather. The bronze dog is by Dame Elisabeth Frink, who I was extremely privileged to meet at her home in Blandford Forum in 1992, when I was taken there by my commissioner Val Pitt-Rivers, the founder of Arts in Hospital and a great friend of Elisabeth’s. Elisabeth Frink died in 1993. The courtyard was designed and created around this beautiful sculpture and was loosely based upon a roman villa garden.
‘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’. Arts in Hospital
I love to see the lichens growing everywhere…a sign of age…as well as the Box and Bamboo topiary, maintained as cubes as per the original design.
The Hospital Streets project was completed in 2009 & was commissioned by the then director of Arts in Hospital, Alexandra Coulter.
The project was focussed on colour and wayfinding over three floors of the hospital, with the inspiration coming from two days spent walking & exploring along the Jurassic Coastand another day buried deep in the archives of the Dorset County Museum fossil collections. We collaborated with Tarkett flooring and created bespoke motifs which were inlaid at key points along the Hospital Streets such as lift lobbies and stairs. The work is now almost 10 years old and still looks remarkably fresh considering the heavy traffic.
Hospital Streets Project at Dorset County Hospital completed 2009. Tarkett vinyl flooring with bespoke inlaid motifs & assorted hospital legs. Image: Christopher Tipping 2019