Art of Psychiatry Society

Louis Quail Big Brother – talk and Q&A – Thursday October 4th 2018, 6pm – 8pm
September 24, 2018, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Art, Photography

A days Bird watching at a west London Reservoir. Bird watching is the one constant, the consistent, grounding thread that runs throughout Justin’s chaotic life; it’s this passion that brings light to the shade. When Justin does remark on having a good day, there is normally a list of birds to follow.




















Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting!


After a  year in hiatus, The Art of Psychiatry and the RCPsych Art SIG are joining forces to welcome their first guest artist to give a talk at the Royal College:



Date: Thursday October 4th 2018, 6pm – 8pm
Venue: Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB
Registration: £5.00- Book on Arts SIG Page

How to get tickets: Royal College of Psychiatrists members can get tickets via this link

People who are not members of the College are very welcome to attend.  Tickets are available via calling Catherine Langley at the College on 0203 701 2592.


Louis Quail is a documentary photographer and will be discussing his recently published work ‘Big Brother’:

About Louis Quail and Big Brother: 

“Big Brother is an intimate photographic portrait of Louis Quail’s older brother, Justin, and his daily struggle with schizophrenia. The condition is severe and Justin has been sectioned three times in his life. Yet, as the book shows, there is much more to him than his illness. He has interests, hobbies (painting and poetry and especially birdwatching). He also has love; he has been with his girlfriend, Jackie, for over 20 years.

By showing the person beyond the illness, Big Brother challenges stigma head on. It reveals a system in crisis; under resourced and creaking under the weight of its own bureaucracy, but it also discovers important truths on the nature of resilience. At its heart, though, Big Brother is a love story.

The book includes extensive texts to tell Justin’s story. The complexity of his life is reflected in the complex structure of the book which incorporates a number of inserts that provide a deep insight into Justin’s world through extracts from medical reports, police records and from his own notebooks. The book also includes many of Justin’s drawings and paintings as well as a separate booklet featuring both these and his poetry.

Louis Quail has worked extensively for some of the UK’s best known magazines and has been published in the UK and internationally over many years. He increasingly devotes his time to personal, long term projects. His work for Big Brother has already been awarded various prizes and received significant critical acclaim. His 2015 Arts Council funded show, ‘Before They Were Fallen’, which explored the aftermath of the Afghan War from the perspective of British military families, toured the UK and received extensive press coverage. Louis has twice been a finalist in the National Portrait Gallery portraiture award and his work is held in their permanent collection.”


More information:

Louis Quail on Instagram

Guardian newspaper feature

Buy Big Brother book on Amazon

Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting “James Henry Pullen. The Genius of Earlswood Asylum” with Ian Jones-Healey. 15 June 2017 6pm Robin Murray B IoPPN. All welcome!
May 25, 2017, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Art

Please Join us for our upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society meeting:

“James Henry Pullen. The Genius of Earlswood Asylum”

with speaker Ian Jones-Healey

15 June 2017 6pm Robin Murray B IoPPN. All welcome!

Ian Jones-Healey is the Langdon Down Museum Archivist and journal/website editor for the Down’s Syndrome Association in Teddington south-west London. Ian is particularly interested in researching the social history of learning disability.

James Henry Pullen, (1835-1916), was a resident of the Royal Earlswood Asylum near Redhill. In his lifetime he was said to have the condition of savant syndrome though today he may have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition. Pullen created model ships including Brunel’s Great Eastern and the warship, Princess Alexandra. He also made a pictorial autobiography, imaginary ships, paintings and models.


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Snacks and wine available.

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN):

Read up beforehand! (optional of course)

The Langdon Down Museum:
James Henry Pullen:


Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting April 6th 2017 6pm “Where is the art in a work of art?” with Beth Elliott curator Bethlem Gallery and maker Sue Burbidge. Venue Robin Murray A IoPPN. All welcome!
March 22, 2017, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Art







Date: 6th of April 2017
Venue/Time: Robin Murray Rm A in the IoPPN 6pm.

Please join us for an evening of consideration on


Beth Elliott, Director of the Bethlem Gallery and Maker Sue Burbidge talk about practice and process at the Bethlem Gallery. What takes place before, during and after the making of an artwork? How are artists enabled to do what they do? Does the work lie in the minds of the audience, who after encountering the artwork, carry into the world with them new ideas, questions, feelings or forms? Join us for an evening of discussion to reach beyond art as an object and identify what might be called the ‘by-products’ of the art process.

Beth Elliot is currently working as the director of the Bethlem Gallery. Since graduating from University of the Arts London, Camberwell in 2002 she has focused her work on facilitating arts in mental health through workshops, residencies and exhibitions, and has also played an active role in supporting arts charities within the sector and beyond.

The Bethlem Gallery, established 1997, is a contemporary gallery situated on the grounds of the Bethlem Royal Hospital. The gallery delivers a programme of events that seeks to support artistic practice, strives to engage audiences in dialogue and debate on the subject of mental health alongside highlighting the value of access to the arts in healthcare environments and their importance in recovery.

To find out more about the gallery, please visit their website at


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Snacks and wine available.

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN):

Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm IoPPN “Agnes Martin: her Art and Life” with Dr Lena Fritsch. All welcome!
February 22, 2016, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Art

Agnes Martin














Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting

Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm

Seminar room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Denmark Hill.

Please join us for a speaker meeting about American abstract artist Agnes Martin, recently the subject of a Tate Modern retrospective.  We’re very pleased that Dr Lena Fritsch, Tate Modern Assistant curator will be our speaker guest.

“Agnes Martin: her Art and Life”

Agnes Martin (1912–2004) was an American abstract painter. She was born in Canada but lived most of her life in the United States.  She is best known for her meticulously rendered grid paintings and evocative stripes paintings marked out in subtle pencil lines and pale colour washes. Her art and way of living had a significant influence on her own, and subsequent generations of artists. After becoming a key figure in the male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction in New York, Martin abandoned the city in 1967 and went in search of solitude,  settling in New Mexico. Martin suffered from schizophrenia throughout her adult life. Working within tightly prescribed limits that she imposed on her own practice Martin was able to continue to make extraordinary paintings until her death in 2004.

Dr. Lena Fritsch is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, working on exhibitions (most recently Agnes Martin), displays and acquisitions of international art with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Fritsch studied art history, Japanese studies and English studies at Bonn University, Germany as well as Keio University, Tokyo. She completed a PhD in 2010 with a thesis on Japanese photography (The Body as a Screen: Japanese Art Photography of the 1990s, Georg Olms, Hildesheim 2011). Before joining Tate Modern in 2013, she worked at the Directorate General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Hamburger Bahnhof –  Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin. Most recent publications include: ‘The Floating Dresses of Hiroshima: War Memory in Ishiuchi Miyako’s Photography’, in Ayelet Zohar (ed.): Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Suppressed, Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv 2015; ‘Well, I sit here and wait to be inspired: Photographs of Agnes Martin’ in Frances Morris (ed.), Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London 2015; ‘Von dunkler Dekadenz und christlicher Mystik: Verbindungen zwischen Geoffrey Hills Gedicht “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” und präraffaelitischen Bildern [Dark Decadence and Christian Mysticism: Relationships Between Geoffrey Hill’s Poem “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” and Pre-Raphaelite Paintings]’, in Susanne Gramatzki and Renate Kroll (eds.), Wie Texte und Bilder zusammenfinden, Berlin 2015.


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience:



Picture credit:

Carol Kan interviews Sarah Chaney on Art, Asylum and Autobiography
October 15, 2015, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Art


Sarah Chaney came to talk to AoP on “Art, autobiography and the avant-garde asylum” Carol Kan interviews her after the talk.



Speaker meeting: “Blake as prophet” Tuesday 7th April, 6pm Seminar room 1, IoPPN
March 30, 2015, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Art












Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting

Tuesday 7th April, 6pm Seminar room 1, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Denmark Hill London

“Blake as prophet” with Professor David Bindman

After a quiet patch we have a number of Art of Psychiatry meetings planned and details of these will follow shortly.

Please join us on April 7 for our first meeting of this year.  (Apologies for only one week’s notice)

William Blake (1757-1827) is a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts.  Blake claimed that he has seen an angel in a tree at Peckham Rye, leading to speculation that his imagination is more vivid than reality and some of his contemporaries doubted his sanity. Viewing his works can provide insight into mental states that may be otherwise elusive to psychiatrists.

In this talk entitled “Blake as prophet”, Prof David Bindman will explore the intentions behind Blake’s prophetic works, and his apocalyptic ambitions. It will focus particularly on Jerusalem and its illustrations, and talk about the short poem of the same name, that was not part of the larger work.

David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London. He was educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Courtauld Institute. Professor Bindman has taught and lectured extensively, and has held fellowships at international institutes, such as the Getty Institute and the Du Bois Institute at Harvard. He is a noted scholar on Blake, writing the introductory text to William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books.  His recent interest has turned to the representation of non-Europeans in Western art, culminating in the book Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the Eighteenth Century.

All are welcome (general public, medical and non-medical).  Wine and snacks provided.

Mary Barnes at the Nunnery Gallery
March 30, 2015, 9:31 am
Filed under: Art

Boo Bah PV











The Nunnery Gallery at Bow is currently showing paintings and drawings by Mary Barnes.  Barnes took an unusual route to becoming an artist: most of the works on show were created whilst Barnes was a resident at Kingsley Hall, an experimental therapeutic community founded by counter-cultural psychiatrist R.D. Laing.  On her death, Barnes bequeathed much of her collection to her therapist and friend, Dr Joseph Berke, and her nickname for him: “Boo-Bah” is the title of the show.  This is the first major show of her works since the 2010 retrospective at SPACE Studios.

Born in 1923, Barnes joined the British Army during World War II and subsequently worked as a nurse in Frankfurt and London.  She suffered her first breakdown in 1952 and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She contacted Laing in 1963, after reading his seminal book “The Divided Self”.  She felt that Laing could help her and her brother Peter who was also diagnosed with the same disorder. Initially, she saw Laing for regular session.  Then between 1965 and 1970, she became a patient of Berke and joined Kingsley Hall, a patient-centred, non-institutional and non-interventionist therapeutic community.  In Kingsley Hall, she was encouraged to regress to an infantile like state; she squealed, refused to dress or wash, was fed from a bottle and slept naked in a wooden chest.
Around the same time, Mary started to paint the walls with her own faeces. “My first paintings were black breasts over the walls of the Hall”, recalled Mary in 1969.  Then one day, “Joe gave me a tin of grease crayons. ‘Here, just scribble’. I did, on and on.  Suddenly, a picture emerged, a woman kneeling with a baby to her breast”. From the crayon scribbles, she developed finger-painting and vivid oil paintings. It is these paintings that are now on view at the Nunnery Gallery.

The works on display range from composed, figurative painting to large-scale psychedelic works, with nature and religious symbols as a constant motif.  A rusty trunk stands in the middle of the gallery, with drawings sprawling out. This creates a sense of urgency, epitomising the importance of the creative process in Mary’s journey through madness. Because so much is known about Mary’s life, it can be difficult at times to consider her paintings without imaging her state of mind.  The curator has chosen not to label or date her works, allowing us to form our own conclusions. We are free to respond emotionally to the raw energy of her works.  Texts from Mary’s writings are often intersected with her paintings, creating a sense of an on going dialogue between the viewers and Mary.  Laing once wrote, “Rilke [early 20th century poet] wrote of “ the other side of nature”.  Mary gives us the “other side of the flesh”.”

”Boo-Bah” also contains contextual items, such as photos of Barnes visiting doctors and patients in Sweden.  You can listen to an audio extract of a BBC radio play Barnes co-wrote by David Edgar.  Berke quotes David Edgar in his epilogue on Mary’s website, “When Mary died, several people asked, as if in an afterthought, if she was cured. Certainly, Mary was able to undertake those practical life tasks that were beyond her in madness. But she was never and could never, be cured in the sense of returned to normal. Still passionate, intense, demanding, and self-obsessed, she was also generous, funny and kind. It was a privilege to tell her story.”

This exhibition is a wonderful exhibition of Mary Barnes’ creative outputs at Kingsley Hall.

Speaker meeting: Professor Roger Cardinal – “Responding to Outsider Art” Institute of Psychiatry Tuesday 23 September 6pm Seminar room 1
September 5, 2014, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Art, Uncategorized


Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Speaker meeting meeting:

Professor Roger Cardinal – “Responding to Outsider Art”

Institute of Psychiatry Tuesday 23 September 6pm Seminar room 1

Outsider art is a term used to describe art created outside the mainstream art establishment, and is often applied to work created by psychiatric patients.

Roger Cardinal is widely known for his publications on self-taught art, in particular his pioneeing book Outsider Art of 1972. He has also written on French Surrealism and the early avant-garde, and is currently preparing a monograph on the mediumistic artist Madge Gill.

This talk will offer specimen works of Outsider Art originating in a variety of material contexts and involving a range of belief systems and mental perspectives. It will provide a general map of the field and will use illustrations from the work of some classic creators, as well as little-known recent artmakers. Professor Cardinal will seek to clarify what is at stake when we encounter such productions. What do we need to know about the author of a given work? Is a purely technical perspective adequate? Is there beauty to be savoured, or a whole new aesthetic to be established? Can we dwell within enigma? Outsider Art is rather special, and the viewer needs to adopt a sensitive stance toward the work and its maker.

Talk followed by questions and discussion.

This is an open meeting – all are welcome.  Wine and snacks provided.  Look forward to seeing you there!


Mug up beforehand:

Roger Cardinal

Outsider art

Maria Walsh author of ‘Art and Psychoanalysis’ rescheduled to November 12 2013 6pm
October 15, 2013, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Art, Books

book cover

(This meeting is rescheduled from 24 September)

Tuesday 12 November 2013 6pm Institute of Psychiatry Seminar room 6

Speaker meeting: Maria Walsh talks about her book Art and Psychoanalysis

In Art and Psychoanalysis Maria Walsh investigates how psychoanalysis has been an invaluable resource for artists, art critics and historians throughout the twentieth century.  Artists as varied as Max Ernst, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman and Marina Abramovic can be examined with the benefit of psychoanalytic thinking, and contemporary critics use psychoanalytic concepts as tools to understand how meaning operates.    Walsh’s argument is that psychoanalysis, like art, is a cultural discourse about the mind in which the authority of discourse itself can be undermined, provoking ambiguity and uncertainty and destabilising identity.


This is a public meeting, all are welcome.

Cancelled Maria Walsh 24 September 2013
September 19, 2013, 7:08 am
Filed under: Art

book cover

Unfortunately our 24 September meeting with Maria Walsh is cancelled.  We are rescheduling for later in the year.

Our apologies for any inconvenience.