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Frenchay and Southmead Hospital Viewing Rooms


The brief for this project was to create bier covers for the Viewing Rooms, formerly known as mortuaries, at Frenchay and Southmead Hospitals. Although they should be secular, the pieces were to convey the same feeling of value, respect and care shown for the deceased shown in religious textiles.

"The covers/cushions are absolutely fabulous - real wow factor, and they will look amazing in the room. Thank you so much we are really pleased with them. Your work is just stunning and contributes the perfect level of dignity and high regard that we were hoping for."

Lesley Le-Pine, Head of Clinical Governance, North Bristol NHS Trust

The project was funded by The Kings Trust.


The designs should compliment those already chosen for the large windows that form the walls of the Viewing Rooms at Frenchay one is shown right. These were created by Cardiff based artist, Judy Foote.

Colours should tone with the swatches of paint and materials used within the spaces for walls, sofas etc.

The chairs and sofas have been sourced not only for their appearance but also to allow relatives and friends the maximum amount of time to stay and sit in a comfort. Cushions, continuing the theme of the covers will be made for the sofas.

Images of the suggested designs for the covers are shown below, any one of them could made up in any of the colour themes.

Each of the designs are worked as rectangular panels at the top of the cover and will cover the body. The bottom and sides which drape over the bier are left plain.

The final design was an amalgamation of elements from the three ideas. It was decided to concentrate on the poppy seedhead and develop this idea further. The background was to be a soft limey green with a range of purples and lilacs for the seedheads. Some turquoise stitching would be included to link with those elements on the windows.

It was felt that using the same green for the cushions would be too dominant and so a medium lilac was selected to tone with the walls.


A fine wool was selected for the background fabric for both the covers and the cushions and a range of silk habutai and crepe for the motifs which would give different textures. These were dyed to the appropriate colours, the design transferred to the background fabric and the motifs appliqued with free machine embroidery.

Images of the final pieces can be seen at the top of this page.