Pat: End of life Drawings by Norman Gilbert

This is a very special book of drawings edited by the artist Mark Gilbert. The drawings were made by Mark’s father the Scottish painter Norman Gilbert.  Mark has worked as artist in residence at the Royal London Hospital in England, where he worked on portraits of patients undergoing maxillofacial surgery.    His PhD research focussed on the relationship between the humanities and medicine. This book is a further reflection on this relationship.

The Dementia Services Development Trust was pleased to sponsor the production of the book with the support the Professor Kenneth Rockwood, a leading international authority on frailty and professor of medicine (geriatric medicine and community health & epidemiology) at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.  Prof Rockwood is also the Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research. He has written an introduction to the text.

Norman Gilbert created twenty-five drawings of his wife, Pat Gilbert, as she lay dying following an Alzheimer’s-related stroke.  Norman, who was ninety-one at the time, had drawn Pat regularly over their sixty-five year marriage.  One week after Pat died, Norman was interviewed by a family friend to chronicle his reflections on the drawings.

There is a link to a BBC programme of Norman talking about the drawings and an exhibition at the Tatha gallery here.

What was initially a private experience has been transformed into a shared understanding of the end of life and bereavement.  The book is available for purchase here.


Mark Gilbert and Professor Kenneth Rockwood