Bethlem Residency: Portraits from 1880s

As part of my residency at Bethlem Gallery (see previous post), I met with Colin Gale, Archivist at Museum of the Mind, which shares a building with the gallery. The archive hosts all kinds of documents relating to the hospital, including patient case notes going back many years. There are also a number of photographs of patients from the 1880s, some of which I have drawn below. 
Eleanor Herbert, gentlewoman, 1888
'I have treated her for melancholia since June 1887. She has during that period been under the delusion that her soul is lost.' Dr Michael Henry Taylor
Ralph Rolls, retired railway inspector, 1893 

'He burst out weeping copiously at the beginning of my interview, but soon changed to laughter.' Dr John Warnock
Charles Kirk, barman, 1888
'[He said] he had a knife in his throat and that a cannonball was about to explode in his throat, and [was] altogether strange and incoherent in his manner and expression.' Dr Daniel Hooper.

Despite the insight the photographs give us into the humanity of their subjects, what is noticeably absent from the case notes is the perspective of the person themselves. The doctors report their behavior, but their voices are absent.

Colin Gale and Robert Howard have written a book collating many of the patient records with their photos, 'Presumed Curable'. It has been a valuable resource for me and is highly recommended.