New public artwork for Bristol's Chesterfield Hospital

19 February 2013

Nuffield Health and Willis Newson are working together on a new public artwork commission from internationally renowned American artist, Frank Benson, and a photographic bursary that offering funding support and mentoring to emerging lens-based artists from the South West. 

Both commissions have resulted from the redevelopment of Clifton Court, one of Clifton's earliest villas and now home to Nuffield's Chesterfield Hospital. This project involves both the restoration of a historic Grade II listed building with a rich local history and the development of a new hospital building on the site. Clifton Court was built in 1742 for prominent Bristol industrialist, Nehemiah Champion, and his wife, Martha Goldney. Champion made his money through the metal industry, helping to establish brass works at Baptist Mills in Easton and Warmley, Bristol. Martha Goldney's father, Thomas Goldney II, funded the privateering expedition that resulted in the rescue of Alexander Selkirk - the figure upon whom Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' was based. 

In developing this commission, artist Frank Benson is investigating the links between the site and the story of Selkirk and the way in which brass and bronze production has helped to shape the local landscape. In his work Benson has investigated manufacturing processes and the suspension of movemnt through hyper-realistic sculptures and photography. He derives inspiration from both consumer goods and nature.

The Nuffield Photography Bursary will directly engage young lens-based artists who are local to Bristol and the South West. The Bursary will offer funding support to six finalists to produce, print and frame new work. It will provide them with career support by staging a public exhibition of the work as well as providing professional mentoring and a permanent home in the new hospital for the pieces. In developing plans for the Bursary, discussions have taken place with local arts partners, including the Bristol City Museum and educational institutions in the South West delivering photography courses, to ensure that it delivers as much support as possible to local young artists as well as showcasing their work to the public.

More information about Frank Benson and this project is available on Bristol's Art and the Public Realm website (