Markers is an alternative tour of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
“As ways of caring for people change and parts of the hospital are replaced by new buildings, then look over to the painting of the care worker on the telegraph pole, or the landscape on the trunk of the tree and remember some of the people who spent time here.”
Maggie Keppie – Our Planets
Looking out of the window of the Link corridor, you can see Maggie’s work painted on a window ledge by a set of small steps. This was where Maggie, taking a break from duties at the Patients’ Council, would smoke and talk with her friend Allison. The work was made in remembrance of Allison, who died recently. The text around the flowers reads: ‘We met when our planets aligned, I hate that yours fell before mine.’ The corridor, linking Mackinnon House with the Jordanburn Clinic, has been used as a gallery area for the past twenty years, after it was refurbished with a lottery grant. It was also the location of the Patients’ Council’s former office, where Maggie served as chairwoman
Joan Templeton – Kingfisher
Joan attends art sessions at the Glasshouses when she comes to visit her son in the hospital. She is interested in drawing nature, especially birds and flowers. This bright kingfisher on the greenhouse door was a detail taken from a larger design for a banner. The Glasshouses are currently used as the centre of Artlink’s activities at the Royal Edinburgh. They house a range of creative workshops in addition to gardening activities. They were built to house a previous Horticulture Project which involved many of the patients, but dwindled as Occupational Therapy moved to more modern job-related activities such as office work and trade skills.It is likely that there were greenhouses on this site before these ones, when the hospital was home to resident gardeners and their families, along with a pigman and another family who ran the chicken house.
Anna Redpath – Hair Spectrum
This painting, spanning the doorway of the WRVS shop, is a vibrant composition by an artist fascinated by pattern and colour. The woman’s hair takes on an imaginative life, radiating in circles, filled with a harlequin pattern of colour. Anna chose this spot for her work because she comes here every Wednesday to buy milk for the art group, and will enjoy seeing it, as will the many shop customers.
The shop is situated beside the original entrance to Mackinnon house, and the staircase beside it was once the main staircase of the hospital, though it seems too narrow for that purpose. But Mackinnon House, then known as West House, was built in back in 1840 to house poor patients, and so the decoration and proportions were deliberately modest and plain.