The Diamond Collection
The RSM Library holds in addition to the 22 original Diamond prints, copies in both sepia and black and white, which are available for Members to access.
The original prints are available for viewing by appointment only; please call (+44) (0) 20 7290 2940 / 2941 for more details.
Hugh Welch Diamond
Hugh Welch Diamond (1809-1886) has been described as "the father of psychiatric photography".
From 1848-1858 he was Resident Superintendent of the Female Department of the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum. During this time he was influential in disseminating information on new developments in photography and applied this interest to his professional work.
In 1852 he presented a series of photographic portraits of patients to illustrate different types of insanity. This was the first systematic use of photography in this way.
Three functions of photography
In 1856 he followed this with a paper to the Royal Society, in which he set out what he considered to be the three functions of photography in the treatment of the mentally ill;
The Physiognomy of Insanity
In 1858, John Connolly, Professor of Medicine at the University of London, was inspired by Diamond's photographs to write a major series of essays on "The Physiognomy of Insanity", illustrated by lithographs taken from the photographs. These provide the missing case studies for some of Diamond's photographs.