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Nan West's murals in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1736
  1. G D Schott, consultant neurologist
  1. Royal National Orthopaedic HospitalLondon

    In 1927 the new outpatient department of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Bolsover Street, central London was opened. Adorning the hall was a remarkable new series of murals which had been painted by Nan West, daughter of the hospital's chairman, Henry West. These unusual pictures (fig 1), which cover 90 square metres, bear witness on a grand scale to the prevailing aspiration to restore a social function to art.

    Fig 1

    Unusual surroundings for waiting patients in the 1950s

    Fig 2

    The December panel

    Fig 4.

    Nan West at work on the Summer panel around 1926

    The murals, most of which surmount the 12 doors leading to clinic rooms and offices, are reminiscent of the pre-Raphaelite school. They are painted on canvas using oils with a washable surface and are in soft pastel …

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