John Bellany

Self-Portrait (from 'The Addenbrookes Hospital Series')

About this artwork

In 1988 it became clear that Bellany’s liver was deteriorating so fast that he did not have much longer to live, unless he had a liver transplant. Against all the odds he was able to undergo a transplant operation at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, performed by the pioneering surgeon, Professor Sir Roy Calne. It was completely successful. As soon as Bellany came round from the anaesthetic he could not believe he was still alive. He asked for pencil and paper and only after he was able to draw was he certain that he was alive. Over the next few weeks as he grew stronger he drew the doctors and nurses looking after him, but above all he drew himself, a new Lazarus. These drawings and watercolours, such as this one, are some of the most poignant works from this period.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    John BellanyScottish (1942 - 2013)
  • title:
    Self-Portrait (from 'The Addenbrookes Hospital Series')
  • date created:
    Dated 14 April 1988
  • materials:
    Watercolour and black chalk on paper
  • measurements:
    57.00 x 38.60 cm (framed: 79.70 x 59.40 x 2.80 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1990
  • accession number:
    GMA 3536
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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John Bellany

John Bellany

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