Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Artist draws 50 nurses from 1919 to celebrate International Women's Day

  • Comment

An artist who works for a hospital charity is appealing for help to uncover the identity of 50 Westminster Hospital nurses from a photograph taken in 1919.

Anouk Mercier, a drawer-in-residence at CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is creating 50 individual portraits of female nurses from a 1919 photograph in a project titled “50 nurses” to help celebrate International Women’s Day.

“The process of creating each drawing will allow me to ‘spend time’ with the nurses, celebrating their uniqueness”

Anouk Mercier

Ms Mercier discovered the photograph while exploring the archives of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as part of the charity’s heritage project to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the original Westminster Hospital, which founded in 1719.

The artist said she was struck by the fact that none of the nurses’ names had been recorded, despite this being one of the rare archives documenting women’s contribution to hospital life.

It was also noticed that among the charity’s archives and historic art collection there are numerous painting, drawings and references to significant male figures in the hospital, but few of women.

CW+ said that to address this lack of representation, Ms mercier has taken on the challenge of drawing 50 individual portraits of each woman in this rare photograph.

Ms Mercier said: “The process of creating each drawing will allow me to ‘spend time’ with the nurses, celebrating their uniqueness and questioning potential personalities, histories and roles.

A selection of the portraits will be exhibited as part of the charity’s extensive art collection at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday.

The aim is to invite members of the public and staff to help identify each woman, with the hope that the nurses’ names can one day be listed alongside the photograph.

Trystan Hawkins, director of patient environment for CW+, said: “On International Women’s Day, Anouk’s project will celebrate the huge contribution that women have made throughout our hospital’s history and continue to make today.”

Mr Hawkins highlighted that Ms Mercier’s work at the hospital has allowed her to use drawing as a “tool to gather information and learn about hospital life”.

“Her residency, and particularly the ‘50 Nurses’ project, helps us to reflect on our heritage, and think about how much has changed over the past 300 years,” he said.

anouk mercier nurse no11

anouk mercier nurse no11

Source: Anouk Mercier

Anouk Mercier nurse no 11

anouk mercier nurse no 5

anouk mercier nurse no 5

Source: Anouk Mercier

Anouk Mercier nurse no 5


  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs