John Brandler, from Brandler Galleries in Brentwood, made the gesture to thank the staff for “risking their lives” during the pandemic.
He donated 50 copies of mural artist Rachel List’s colourful PPE Angel, which she originally painted on the wall of an art gallery in her hometown of Pontefract in Yorkshire.
The 30-year-old, who usually paints murals on children’s bedrooms, couldn’t work during the lockdowns and instead used her time to boost morale and say thank you to NHS staff with pictures on her town’s walls.
She secretly painted her first NHS mural on the Horse Vaults pub in Pontefract and gained worldwide fame overnight after her picture was mistaken for a Banksy. A significant collection of her work is currently on display in Peterborough Museum.
Now, as the UK battles against the Omicron variant, John is gifting prints of her PPE Angel picture to NHS staff in hospitals across the country.
John said: “I specifically wanted to thank the individuals who are risking their lives every day by giving them something of lasting value.
“Rachel List is a very popular and rising star in the street art movement, and consequently these limited-edition prints will significantly increase in value over time.”
Rachel added: “I could never have predicted that my art would have reached people beyond my hometown, so the fact it has travelled across the country is a lovely bonus.
“When I couldn’t continue with my murals during the first lockdown, I didn’t want to stop painting so I decided to take my art outside. I chose to paint on the walls of businesses that had been forced to close during the lockdown.
“I think a lot of people responded creatively during lockdown, with children drawing rainbows in windows and others taking up new crafts or decorating their homes.
“Lockdown forced people to slow down and I think that’s one reason my murals were so successful. People in Pontefract had time to stop and contemplate them as they went out on their daily walks and it became like an art trail.”
Pat Carrington, CEO of City Culture Peterborough, which runs Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, said: “We’re delighted to have artwork from a talented up-and-coming artist like Rachel List featuring at our Urban exhibition.
“Rachel’s work has brought a lot of smiles to people across the UK over the past couple of years and we anticipate many people will be keen to see her art in person at our exhibition.”
Rachel’s work can be seen on display, alongside work by Banksy My Dog Sighs, Blek le Rat, Pure Evil, Kaws, Damian Hirst and other prominent artists at the Urban art
exhibition at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery in Cambridgeshire from Dec 11 until May 2022. To book visit www.cityculturepeterborough.org.uk/museum-art-gallery.