Date Posted: Monday 25 January 2021
During the first lockdown in March 2020, students and teachers from New Hall School, Chelmsford, took the opportunity to exercise their artistic skills by creating over 60 portraits of NHS staff. This was part of the Portraits for NHS Heroes initiative; whereby professional and amateur artists were encouraged to artistically depict the various heroic members of staff who work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Covid ward. In July, these portraits were then transported up to Edinburgh to be displayed in an exhibition at the Royal Infirmary.
Daisy Alderson, Head Girl of New Hall School, chose to portray TJ, a senior staff nurse. Her artwork was submitted to the Reflections of a Nation Art competition and has since been selected as a winning piece. Globally acclaimed author and judge for the competition, Alexander McCall Smith, described Daisy’s submission as “a very accomplished, and indeed haunting, portrait. It is remarkable how the artist has managed to convey the combination of anxiety and sympathy in the subject’s eyes.”
Daisy was delighted to have her piece recognised in this way, saying, “I am so humbled by this exciting news, it was an honour to paint TJ, one of our NHS heroes, and I hope that the portrait helps to bring awareness to the sacrifice and resilience of our amazing health workers during this global pandemic. Thank you to Mr Hughes, who let me be a part of the ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ initiative, which I hope sufficiently shows our appreciation and gratitude to their incredible service.”
The portrait will now feature in the Great Tapestry of Scotland’s Reflections of a Nation Exhibit. Opening this summer, the exhibition will tell the story of Scottish history, heritage, and culture, from millions of years BC up until the present day.
All those in the New Hall community are delighted for Daisy, with Gareth Hughes, Head of Art, Design & Technology, saying, “We are so proud of this fantastic achievement which is thoroughly deserved by Daisy. What makes this triumph all the more notable is that Daisy took up the challenge with limited materials and at a time when she no longer studied Art, having achieved a top Level 9 grade at GCSE in the year beforehand.”
This achievement is a testament to the fantastic Art, Design & Technology Department at New Hall School. At A Level, the A* grade is the one most achieved over the past six years by our Sixth Form artists. At New Hall, students are encouraged to work imaginatively and expressively in a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, and mixed media.
The Catholic boarding and day school for students aged 1-18 has a distinctive ‘diamond model structure’ and a strong pastoral care ethos, working to support students in all their endeavours and allowing them to achieve success in a wide variety of fields. During this Remote Learning period, New Hall students continue to stay connected with their teachers and peers through following a full timetable of live lessons each day, conducted using Microsoft Teams and their own school-supplied iPad.