Hogarth's Staircase Masterpiece At Bart's Hospital To Be Restored

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Hogarth's Staircase Masterpiece At Bart's Hospital To Be Restored
The huge paintings around the Hogarth Stair, showing Jesus in blue and red robes and many others
Image © Matthew Andrews

One of London's most beguiling staircases is to be restored following a multi-million pound grant.

The Hogarth Stair at Bart's Hospital is one of the great artistic treasures of London. Its walls were painted with biblical scenes by William Hogarth, more noted for his comedic street scenes such as Gin Lane.

Although well looked after, the paintings and wider Grade-I-listed building are in need of a bit of a clean and conservation, including work to repair the timber structure upon which the murals rest. Now, a £4.9m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will see the murals restored to their former glory, along with other historic parts of the hospital.

A fresco of an angel reaching to the right where clouds are forming.
Image © Matthew Andrews

The art on the Hogarth Stair depicts two stories from the bible that feature people in need of healing: The Pool of Bethesda and The Good Samaritan. These were by far the largest works Hogarth had ever attempted and, remarkably, he did it all for free. The commission originally went to an Italian painter, but Hogarth thought it should be handled by English talent. Having been born about 50 metres away in Bartholomew Close, Hogarth put himself forward and did it for nothing more than local pride. The people in the paintings are thought to be modelled on real patients at the hospital, and they show a variety of maladies.

Two conservators look up at a huge painting on a staircase
Image © Matthew Andrews

The announcement coincides with the hospital's 900th anniversary year, during which a range of events and activities are planned.

Last Updated 11 January 2023

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