Grand piano bought for Southmead Hospital

Monday, 29 June 2015

The atrium of the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol will be alive with the sound of music from this week.

A Steck Boudoir Grand piano has been purchased for the hospital through the sale of a landscape oil painting by English artist Henry William Banks Davis.

The piece entitled Declin Du Soleil is of a French landscape painted in 1890 and sold at auction earlier this month for £2,400.

The sale has meant that all the costs of purchasing, restoring and installing the piano have been covered, supported by Southmead Hospital Charity.

The piano will sit in the atrium of the main hospital building and a programme of live musical performances is planned as part of the hospital’s Fresh Arts initiative to use the arts to promote health and wellbeing.

The painting had been in storage for the last four years since the demolition of one of the old Southmead Hospital buildings to make way for the new hospital.

But the painting was so big that a space large enough to hold it could not be found in the new building.

Ruth Sidgwick, Fresh Arts Manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “It was so heavy it took four men to lift it off the wall.

“As we didn’t have anywhere to accommodate it, we thought it may be worth something but were surprised to see it do so well at auction.

“We are thrilled that the sale raised so much and that we did not have to do any other fundraising for the piano, which will add a real sense of atmosphere to the hospital.

“We already have a constant programme of live music performances in the hospital, which patients, staff and visitors love – live music is a great vehicle for patients to be transported beyond the hospital, helping them to relax and to enhance their wellbeing.”

The painting was donated to Winford Hospital by Sir Lionel Goodenough Taylor, chairman and treasurer of the hospital between 1930 and 1948, and over the years was acquired by North Bristol NHS Trust.

It was sold at auction by Clevedon Salerooms, who waived their fee and commission as a donation to Southmead Hosptial Charity.

Toby Pinn, auctioneer and valuer, said: “Declin Du Soleil is a well painted, subtle piece that just captures that moment when the sun goes down at dusk.

“The painting is of rolling French fields with poppies in the foreground, although painted before the First World War it evokes those feelings.

“We are always happy when a sale goes to a great cause, and what a fantastic way for people to get pleasure from a piano rather than a picture.”

You can donate to fund future Fresh Arts projects through Southmead Hospital Charity.

Southmead Hospital are looking for volunteer pianists who would like to play the piano for half an hour slots. Please contact Ruth Sidgwick, Fresh Arts manager, on 0117 4143759.