Glenside Hospital Museum: Patients, portraits and personal stories

Artist Steve Burden shares the artworks he has created inspired by the Victorian portraits he encountered thanks to the Patient Artwork Project at Glenside Hospital Museum

Recently I have been exploring the collection at the Glenside Museum as part of the Step-up course which I was selected for in February 2021. I’m fascinated with the Victorian patient portraits, their personal stories and the methods of treating them – fresh air, exercise, gardening, green space.
Leucotomy (the surgical cutting of white nerve fibres within the brain) came later in the 1940s and was barbaric in comparison.

The Step Up: Exploring Collections course run by Outside In and Glenside Hospital Museum (part of Patient Artwork: New Dialogues) gives artists the chance to gain skills and experience in research, interpretation and creatively responding to unique collections. Artists are encouraged to provide their creative perspectives on collections and works that are all too often interpreted by academics and medical professionals.

Here is a selection of the works I have made in response to the collection:

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