Angel and straitjacket.

  • Charnley, Bryan, 1949-1991
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About this work


Two hanging jackets facing forwards, one jacket has ties suggestive of a straitjacket, the other is worn by a figure playing a wind instrument. A syringe lies on the ground, the letters D.A.M. are written in a rear view mirror.



Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; 101.3 x 96.7 cm

Biographical note

Bryan Charnley (1949-1991) was a British artist whose work illustrates his experiences of schizophrenia. In 1969 he enrolled on a BA in sculpture at the Central School of Art and Design, but left due to a breakdown. He started painting in 1978, and from the late 1980s he began to get recognition for his work, with Bethlem Royal Hospital purchasing four of his paintings. From 1987 to his death he kept a dream diary as a way of understanding his own mind. In March 1991 he decided to experiment with his medication and embarked on a series of self-portraits, a series which exposed his mental illness. The series was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1995. He took his own life in July 1991.


Bryan Charnley. 1990. Angel and straitjacket. Painting. Wellcome Collection no. 3049683i

References note

Charnley, J. (2018). Bryan Charnley: art and adversity, page 18.


Title from printed label on back of painting.
Signed BJC.

Ownership note

Purchased by Wellcome Collection in 2018 from the Estate of Bryan Charnley.



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