St David’s Day portraits celebrate Welsh health pioneers


Chair of the Bevan Commission, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, is depicted in a special portrait alongside Dr Julian Tudor-Hart and Betsi Cadwaladr

Celebrity artist Nathan Wyburn has turned coffee into commemoration to celebrate St David’s Day with an unusual tribute to legends of Welsh health and care.  

The Chair of the Bevan Commission and Life Sciences Hub Wales, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, was immortalised in a coffee-painted portrait alongside pioneering GP Dr Julian Tudor-Hart and the Crimean wartime nurse Betsi Cadwaladr. The three finished portraits will be displayed alongside NHS founder Aneurin Bevan, previously painted by Nathan during NHS 70 celebrations, at Barry Hospital.

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, a native of Merthyr Tydfil, is a renowned expert in health whose advice is sought after by leaders in the UK and internationally. During his distinguished career, Sir Mansel was Chief Medical Officer, Medical Director and Chief Scientist at the Department for Work and Pensions in London. He was the first ever Chair of Public Health Wales NHS Trust, responsible for the delivery of public health services at national, local and community levels in Wales. He now serves both as Chair of the Bevan Commission, Wales’ leading think tank for health and care, and the Life Sciences Hub Wales. He was knighted in 2010 for services to health and healthcare.

Betsi Cadwaladr was a nurse in the Crimean War who worked alongside Florence Nightingale, who acknowledged Cadwaladr’s ability to react intuitively to the needs of the injured soldiers and the progress she made improving the unhygienic conditions of the field hospital.

Dr Julian Tudor Hart was a general practitioner for over 30 years in the Afan Valley,  South Wales. His practice in Glyncorrwg, was the first in the UK to be recognised as a research practice, piloting many Medical Research Council studies. He articulated the ‘Inverse Care Law’ which drew attention to the inadequate quality and delivery of healthcare in poorer communities.

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward said: “I was delighted to be chosen by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for this special honour, alongside the highly distinguished and celebrated Betsi Cadwaladr and Dr Julian Tudor Hart, most prominent figures in Welsh health history whom I greatly admire. Wales has so much to offer the world in health and care expertise and innovation. I am proud of NHS Wales and it is fitting that our NHS legacy is celebrated on this St David’s Day. Nathan did a fantastic job of capturing my likeness and it was a pleasure to watch him produce these works of art.”

Nathan Wyburn, Artist, said: “It’s always an absolute pleasure to work alongside the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Creating these portraits of such well-known people was great fun. Professor Sir Mansel Aylward absolutely loved his when he came to see it as I created it live – it’s always added pressure but I’m thrilled with his response. The coffee dries perfectly and I can’t wait to see them on display alongside my previously created Aneurin Bevan.”

The celebration was organised and supported by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Arts for Health and Well-being programme, which aims to improve the lives of patients and professionals through the positive impact of art.