Artist colourises photos of asylum patients from the Victorian era

Portraits of Victorian asylum patients have been brought back to life by being colourised.

The original black and white images were colourised by Nicola Branson from Northampton.

‘I chose these images originally after reading up about the history of how people were treated during the Victorian times,’ she said.

‘Thankfully lunatic asylums of the Victorian era no longer exist, and in today’s society there is a lot more help and understanding of the different conditions that exist.’

During the Victorian era, there was a huge rise in the numbers of asylums and their patients.

The first known asylum in the UK was at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. It had been a hospital since 1247 but began to admit patients with mental health conditions around 1407.

Treatments included restraints and padded cells, water therapy and drug treatments.

The old asylum system in the UK had become too big to manage by the 1960s and it was announced in 1961 that many would close.

In these striking pictures, you can see Frances Mary Antoinette Spackman, whose husband Henry had her declared insane in 1901 and sent her to a private asylum near Bristol.

Other photographs show John Constantin, who was deaf-mute and admitted aged just 10 before spending 55 years in containment and care.

John Phillips, whose facial growth led him to believe he was cursed, is also pictured.

‘One of the men stares blankly, a lost soul forever forgotten in history,’ added Nicola.

‘Yet here he is in an old photo being remembered for his troubled life that put him in an asylum.

‘Some lunatic asylums had very harsh ways of dealing with patients. I think colour adds to the realities of what these people went through.’

Here are some more images of Victorian asylum patients:

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