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Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 5pm

A partly assembled puzzle of a man sitting in bed. Unsorted puzzle pieces surround a semi-transparent version of the painting.

Jigsaw puzzle of Private Thomas Walker, by Thomas William Wood, 1856

Private Thomas Walker

The painting shows a man, facing to the left of the picture, sitting up in an iron-framed bed. He is wearing a clean white nightcap and nightgown and is propped up by two pillows, also in clean white covers. The sheets of the bed are turned down, and the lower part of the bed is covered by a quilted blanket made up of triangular patches of yellow, red, white and black fabric. On this quilt rests a red army uniform jacket with a white chevron on the lower part of the sleeve and a yellow cuff. A silver medal with a pale blue ribbon edged in gold is attached to the breast of the jacket. On top of the jacket is a dark infantryman's shako - a kind of cylindrical hat with a peak - which has '95' and a red and gold badge featuring a curved horn. The man holds a small section of red and black quilt in his left hand, and his right is pulling a needle and thread from the top of the piece he is stitching. On the sheet in front of him are scissors and more triangular sections of cloth. The colours of the quilt are the same as those of the uniform.

Private Thomas Walker, by Thomas William Wood, 1856

About the painting 

Private Thomas Walker by Thomas William Wood, 1856

Walker was wounded in the head by a shell burst while fighting in the Crimean War (1853–56), and underwent an operation to insert a silver plate to replace a piece of missing bone.  This painting shows Walker recovering at Fort Pitt in Chatham, England, where he was visited by Queen Victoria. It was used in government propaganda as an example of a model hospital, with fresh bedding and clean clothing. At the time there was public outrage over the unsanitary conditions of hospitals in Crimea.

This painting is display in Room 1 of the Hunterian Museum.