In 1959, in a busy hospital corridor, Sheridan Russell fixed an artwork to the wall. It was at this moment that the story of Paintings in Hospitals began...

Sheridan was Britain's first male almoner. The almoners were the pioneers of what we 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 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 artworks 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.

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Our founder Sheridan Russell, 1900-1991

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Sheridan believed that everyone should be able to experience the health benefits of art, regardless of situation or location. So, in the 1980s, Paintings in Hospitals began to develop a regional network, enabling care sites outside of London to access our services. In 1991, we provided seed funding for Paintings in Hospitals Scotland, which has since become Art in Healthcare, Edinburgh.

Today, Paintings in Hospitals now works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We care for over 4,000 artworks in our collection, many by world-famous artists. We use our collection to inspire art walks, artist projects and creative activities. And we work side-by-side with patients and care staff to help create care spaces that are encouraging, enriching and empowering.

We hope Sheridan would be proud.

Help us carry on Sheridan's work. Fundraise for us...