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Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Tour

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is more than a place to heal the sick. Londoner of the Year (1998) Susan Loppett, director of the Hospital Arts Programme, has used the foundation of innovative architecture to create an artistic wonder. Tours take place every Wednesday afternoon.

Back in 1859, Florence Nightingale noted that "variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients have a powerful effect" and "are actual means of recovery".

Chelsea and Westminster's arts programme turns theory into reality. Art works by major contemporary painters and sculptors are placed in prominent areas of the main atrium, on the walls of wards, in operating areas, treatment rooms and waiting rooms. The art works alleviate the tedium of accident and emergency, soothe anxious patients waiting for consultations and give those in pain a chance to concentrate on their aesthetic senses instead of the merely physical.

Works include the largest hospital sculpture in the world - a 60-foot high green, yellow and red steel Acrobat by Allen Jones - three 50-foot silk banners by Patrick Heron, a rainbow-coloured mobile by Sian Tucker which tumbles five storeys and a magnificent Resurrection by the Venetian master Paolo Veronese, painted in 1580.

Other works are by students from the Chelsea College of Art. Over time, these appreciate in value, creating for the hospital a revenue stream it can use to improve patient care - be it through art or investment in doctors and medical equipment.

The Arts Programme of the hospital also organises opera, ballet and music concert performances which are open to the public throughout the year. Visit the hospital website to find out what's on when or to make a donation to support the Arts Programme, thereby joining the ranks of Lord Attenborough, Sandra Blow, Dr Jonathan Miller and Dame Maggie Smith.

<i class=title>Falling Leaves</i>, a five-storey mobile by Sian Tucker

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Tour Information

When: Wed only

Where: London

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 2pm

Address: 369, Fulham Rd, London, SW10 9NH

Hotels near Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

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