A new exhibition which opens today at the Fitzrovia Chapel features paintings of women at work at the Elizabeth Garret Anderson maternity wing of University College Hospital.
Caroline Walker‘s paintings are of midwives, doctors, cleaners and mothers, and are inspired by the series of four paintings by Frederick Cayley Robinson The Acts of Mercy, which originally hung in the foyer of the Middlesex Hospital.
“When I first started speaking to UCH about a residency there were a number of departments that interested me as potential subject matter,” says Walker.
“It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant and began attending appointments at the hospital as an expectant mother that I began to develop a particular interest in the areas I was visiting. Trips to the maternity wing for scans, blood tests, antenatal classes and then the birth itself were both a new experience emotionally for me, but also visually.
“At some point during this period I decided that the maternity wing would make the ideal subject for my work, bringing together my personal relationship to this hospital with an ongoing interest in depicting women’s working lives through painting.”
Alongside the exhibition at The Fitzrovia Chapel, UCH will display ink drawings and oil sketches from Caroline’s time at the hospital in their ground floor exhibition space, visible externally from Euston Road. The exhibition at UCH will run from 18 February to 1 April, and is available to view inside the hospital by appointment.
A catalogue will be published of both exhibitions, with a talks and tours programme to follow.
Caroline Walker: Birth Reflections. Opening and press day 11am to 8pm, Thursday 17 February 2022. Exhibition open to public 18 February to 4 March 2022. At The Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF. Free admission. Information sheet.