Building through history

Artist: Richard Cusden
Location: Corridor leading to Urology Dept, SDH South

Donated to ArtCare in 2012 this painting by Richard Cusden was originally commissioned for the Anglia Building Society in Salisbury in the 1980s. The theme shows buildings through the ages from Norman to Victorian and includes some familiar architectural features from around the Salisbury area.

Richard Cusden was a well-known local artist who lived in The Close from 1952 until the 1980s when he moved to Harnham. He was Art Master at Salisbury’s Bishop Wordsworth School until 1965 when he joined the staff at Salisbury College of Art where he lectured in the History of Art. In early 1970s he began his television career with the BBC, starting with his One Man Show series, teaching how to draw and paint. This was followed by ‘Private View’ – a series filmed at some of his favourite spots around the south. In 1981 he made ‘Cusden on Location’ and in 1983 ‘Cusden on Avon’.

You can read in more detail about the building styles featured on the panels in our leaflet on the artwork (pdf).

With thanks to ArtCare volunteer Anne Parrish for research and photographs.


Artist: Peter Yarwood
Location: Courtyard outside PFI building

Peter Yarwood’s resting forms bear a relation to objects carried and deposited by a river’s flow, which have settled and started to take root.

Peter said, “Though bold, the forms emit a feeling of lightness and balance, by seemingly only having a small area in direct contact with the ground. I wanted to give the impression that they are still capable of being lifted up and moved on again. I like the idea of only partially revealing things, leaving the viewer to fill in the gaps over several viewings, prolonging the dialogue between viewer and the work.”

Audio description of Drift stone seats

River benches

Artist: Zoë Cull & Alex Evans
Location: Courtyard outside PFI building

Three hand-carved benches in Portland stone by Zoë Cull and Alex Evans reflect the theme of a ‘swirling stream’ in both their form – the meandering curves of slate and rippled surfaces – and in the lines of poetry exquisitely carved into the stone.

Zoë said, “The benches are intended to provoke thought and to provide inspiration and pleasure to those who use them. The forms and textures of the pieces is important and users are very much encouraged to touch them.”

The bench with slate inlay suggests the languid atmosphere of a river winding through summer meadows, with the slate ‘water’ slipping gently over the ‘falls’ at the ends of the seat. The split bench represents the geological impact of the river on the landscape, literally carving the land as it goes and the bench with the hole makes visual reference to the ripples caused by a stone being dropped in the water.

The lines of poetry were written by poet-in-residence Rose Flint and are integral to the finished benches. The appearance of each bench relates specifically to the lines of poetry inscribed on it and provokes thought about both the overt meaning of the words and also the deeper underlying sentiments.

Poem for stone seats

Avon, Ebble, Bourne, Nadder, Wylye
shining rivers
carry light
sun moon star
light into land
and hearts of people
whose lives
wind through green hills
where hares race over primrose and trefoils
and trout snooze beside rushes
where larks sequin the air with songs
and herons gaze into crystal
rivers of life
connecting us all
in circles of brightness
with no end or beginning
only patterns of light

© Rose Flint, 2005

Audio description of River benches

Visit Zoë Cull & Alex Evans’ website

Playdeck glass

Artist: Stuart Low
Location: Sarum Ward, Level 4, SDH North

Artist Stuart Low was commissioned to create and inspiring landmark with the glass surrounding the playdeck on Sarum Ward, to be accessed by children staying on the ward. The glass also had to screen children at play from observation by the public walking along the main hospital corridor.

Stuart said, “This project offered a fantastic opportunity to transform the children’s environment by working with glass on a large scale. the two themes of Waterworld and Treetops lent themselves to the use of bold colour and shape and the designs produced by children during participatory workshops helped greatly to influence the outcome.”

Stuart worked with the children from the hospital’s holiday playscheme and local teenagers. The finished glass is a vibrant, decorative focal point inviting children out to play on the deck and the accompanying main corridor glass design is similarly eye-catching, without loss of natural light. The glass was produced and installed by Proto Studios Ltd and Great Panes.

Visit the Stuart Low’s website

Fish tank

Artist: Fabrizia Bazzo & Michelle Keeling
Location: Children’s Outpatients Reception

The fish tank feature in the Outpatients reception area was commissioned to provide a welcoming and interesting focal point with a ‘wow’ factor to distract and delight children of all ages. “What amuses and enchants a child looking through blue water? How can fish simply swimming make a child smile?”, were two questions that art glass designers Fabrizia Bazzo and Michelle Keeling had in mind while designing the fish tank. They said, “Designing with the aim to reach and inspire a child’s fantasy was a challenge but it was greatly rewarding. We got lots of ideas from the children at Wyndham Park Infants and Exeter House Special School. Don’t ask why, but jellyfish seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the workshops! We integrated the work from the schools into our overall designs for the backdrop to the fishtank to create a feature that is relaxing and interesting to watch over fro long periods of time.”

The tank was produced and installed by Porton Garden Centre and Shires Ltd.

Pathology quilts

Artist: Sarum Quilters, designed by Janet McCallum
Location: Pathology waiting area, Level 3, SDH North

The pair of quilts hanging in the Pathology waiting room, designed by Janet McCallum and made by the Sarum Quilters, were installed in 1992. The two pieces depict various aspects of genetics, from chromosomes to viruses and blood cells to chromatography. Find out more about the elements that make up the quilts by downloading our pathology quilts information leaflet (pdf)

Water windows

Artist: Sasha Ward
Location: Burns Unit, Level 4, SDH North

Artist Sasha Ward was commissioned to produce artworks for the public areas of the new Burns Unit, which meant making glass panels for corridor walls, rather than for windows.

Sasha met with staff, patients and visitors from the unit to show them some of the techniques she uses and some examples of her previous commissions. Following the discussion she decided to explore representations of water, which not only echoes the properties of glass with its transparent qualities but also links to the ‘soothing’ aspect of the treatment in the Burns Unit.

Sasha commented, “I wanted the glass to remain light. By using mostly blue and green tones on the panels with some purple, yellow and grey the finished artwork is transparent and soft, with subtle lighting rather than a bright glare.”

In the designs for the panels Sasha combined observations of water in streams, pools and basins with diagrams based on water molecules in various formations and with floating flowers.

The panels were made using 6mm float glass that Sasha fired with layers of transparent enamels, sandblasted for texture and toughened, making them able to withstand the intensive cleaning needed in the Burns Unit.

About the artist

Sasha says, “My work is made for buildings, with the aim of adding interest through the use of colour and pattern or specific subject matter. I work mostly in glass and have always used techniques, as well as imagery, that are compatible with modern building methods. Most of my work has been commissioned for public buildings and it ranges from small stained glass chapel windows, to balustrading, to colour schemes for hospital departments. My main interest is in the play of shadow and coloured light transmitted through glass…”

Sasha started by making stained glass windows in her bedroom when she was 15. After leaving school, she chose a foundation course at The Central School of Art & Design (1977-78) where she could also study stained glass. Sasha subsequently did a Fine Art Degree at Trent Polytechnic (1979-82) followed by an M.A. in Glass at The Royal College of Art (1983-85). Following the award of a Crafts Council Setting Up Grant in 1986 she set up a studio, with a first public commission awarded in the same year. Since then Sasha has completed over 40 public commissions, many of which have included a participatory or community element. Most significant was a Residency with 4 Day Centres for adults with learning disabilities and the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth in 1995-96. Sasha has been a Southern Arts Crafts Advisor (1994-97) and a member of The Crafts Council Grants Committee (1997-2000)

This commission was funded by Arts Council England, South West.

Audio description of Water Windows


Artist: Ruth Dresman
Location: Staircase leading from main reception to Level 4, SDH North

About the artist

Ruth Dresman makes vessels in coloured glass, with sandblasted design which emphasise the colour transparency and translucency of the material. She has evolved a distinctive technique which is exclusive to her studio, based on the controlled removal of layers of coloured glass to describe her designs. After studying 3D Design: Glass at West Surrey College of Art & Design, Ruth worked as a studio assistant at The Glasshouse, London and then became crafts person in residence at a gallery in Salisbury. She then spent a year travelling to the USA, Mexico, Indonesia and India before returning to her native Wiltshire to set up her independent glass studio in 1986. Ruth was commissioned by Buckingham Palace on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen to make gifts for the Sultan of Brunei and his family during the Royal Visit in 1998, and has also made architectural commissions for public and private sites, including the architectural sculpture commission for Salisbury Hospital, in collaboration with blacksmith Jayne Fortune. Ruth is based in West Knoyle near Warminster.

Starfish bench

Artist: Rachel Silver
Location: Outside Children’s Outpatients

The mosaics around the entrance to the Children’s Unit were commissioned as a wayfinding trail for visitors to find their way between car parks and the unit. Designer Rachel Silver worked with pupils at Woodford Valley School and Harnham Junior School to create mosaic details for the trail. The works create an identity for the unit that ties in with theme of waterworld. Make the Unit easy to find for patients and make welcoming entrances. Being a visual ‘trail’ to find and follow they can be interactive and playful. As outdoor works, mosaic is extremely robust, very low maintenance and resistant to damage by weather, vandalism or theft.

Rachel says, “We undertook observation exercises by studying the specific flora and fauna by the local river, leaves, berries, pods and sprigs that had fallen from the tree tops in the school grounds, and on the walks to school. We interpreted these into mosaic designs by carefully looking and repeating the rich autumn colours and varying forms of the leaves. Harnham Junior School studied shells, starfish, coral and other sea creatures and the patterns and colours they produced to interpret in their own individual mosaic designs. The final work in the studio brought all the individual details together ready to bring to site and install as a trail of richly coloured bollards and a starfish shaped bench.”

About the artist

Rachel is a freelance mosaic artist based in the colourful and vibrant area of Brick Lane, East London. Originally from New Zealand, her extensive background in applied arts includes ceramics, glass casting, jewellery and sculpture making. Rachel specialises in the design and manufacture of commissioned mosaics for the private and public sector including interior design projects and community and regeneration arts projects.

Musical influences

Artist: David Bennett
Location: Central corridor, near Day Surgery

‘Lisa’s Flute’ is one of a series of five works based on musical instruments and responses to musical sounds. David uses the repeated shapes of valves, keys, rods and sound holes to make bold close-up studies. David shows his interest in the technical solution used in the construction of each instrument that in-turn create interesting visual objects. David imitates the music through painting technique by using a variety of brush strokes and lively colour to represent the unique sound characteristics. ‘Lisa’s Flute’ is perhaps the most extreme of the five with its divided panels placed in higher and lower, deeper and shallower composition. The style of mounting was done to depict the staccato playing of notes from a flute.

About the artist

David Bennett spent his childhood in the Woodford Valley, five miles north of Salisbury. In 1996, after a career in teaching, he decided to become a freelance illustrator. His versatility lends itself to a wide variety of work that encompasses: logo design, murals, caricatures and book illustrations. David’s portfolio includes logos for the Larmer Tree Festival and National Federation of Zoological Gardens and archaeological reconstructions for the National Trust stone circles at Avebury and Castlerigg (Cumbria).


Artist: Binita Walia
Location: Level 2, 3 & 4 Link bridge, Phase II building

This major work by glass artist Binita Walia of a flock of birds screen-printed onto glass can be seen from almost anywhere in the new build. The cloud-filled bird silhouettes in blue, green and red tones appear on all three levels of the link bridge and the view from the courtyard below and wards opposite is particularly eye-catching. When the sun shines through the glass a further shadow-play of clouds and birds is created along the corridor floor.

Binita said, “I made the ‘friendly’ birds like robins and chaffinches very large and have scaled down the predatory birds such as vultures and hawks to create a play between what is real and what could be imagined. All the birds are equal and beautiful in a similar way.”

Binita’s design incorporates fifteen birds, a Robin, Chaffinch, Tree Creeper, White Backed Vulture, Arctic Tern, Masked Booby, Montagues Harrier, Swallow, Grey Heron, Little Owl, Galapagos Hawk, Bluetit, Red Billed Tropic Bird, Sacred Ibis and Red Footed Booby, which are repeated throughout the work.

Binita’s design was inspired by the natural habitat of Salisbury plain and the freedom that birds symbolise. “I decided to use birds from all over the world because it symbolises diversity and the integration of people from all walks of life that can occur in a healthcare setting.”

Audio description of Skybirds

Skybirds by Binita Walia leaflet about the artwork (pdf)


H is for hospital

Artist: Althea Wynne
Location: Entrance A, Salisbury District Hospital

Commissioned in 1993, ‘H’ for hospital is an 8 foot high, 6 tonne trilithon of Chilmark stone marking the entrance to Salisbury District hospital. Artist Althea Wynne designed this piece to be made from local Chilmark stone quarried about 15 miles west of Salisbury. This is the same material used in the decoration of Salisbury Cathedral. Chilmark stone is highly regarded as a long lasting limestone that can be easily worked and was reputed to be Sir Christopher Wren’s favourite stone.

The overall shape, although playing on hospital road sign’s ‘H’ for hospital theme, is also reminiscent of the construction at Wiltshire’s mores famous historical site – Stonehenge.

As with any major piece of public art much of the design work is hidden and with 6 tonne piece of sculpture a lot of safety features are hidden under the ground. With deep foundations and stainless steel reinforcement this work is secure for years to come.

About the artist

Althea Wynne trained first at Farnham then at Hammersmith before attending The Royal College of Art form which she holds her degree. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

She also became a teacher of Art and History of Art before returning to her studio where much of her work is in high-fired ceramics with a special interest in large sculpture for gardens and architectural settings.

Althea says, “I am deeply influenced by my love of early classical sculpture, the calm poise and harmony of which I try to emulate. The Greeks also had an understanding of animals from which I draw some of my inspiration, and my equestrian subjects owe much to my love of riding.”