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Mary Shaw, a patient at the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Photograph attributed to James Crichton-Browne, 1871.

  • Crichton-Browne, James, 1840-1938
Part of:
West Riding Asylum, Wakefield, Yorkshire: photographs of patients
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Selected images from this work

About this work


A young woman, with slightly anxious expression, identified as Mary Shaw from Lower Hanover Street, Leeds. She was admitted to the West Riding Asylum in November 1870 as a married thirty-five year old. During her six years of marriage she had given birth to four children. Three had died at the age of two years. Six weeks earlier her new-born baby had died aged just one week old. Mary had said she would "send her husband to gaol then get a velvet dress and have a second husband", probably as a result of the black eye he had given her. Despite an attack of pneumonia by the following spring she was in good health. Mary was discharged in September, 1871, just one day after her photograph had been taken. -- records in the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, Yorkshire, identified by David Scrimgeour, op. cit.

She is portrayed seated against a brick wall lined with creepers


Wakefield : West Riding Asylum, Photographic Studio, [1871]

Physical description

1 photograph : photoprint, albumen ; sheet 9 x 5.5 cm


Simple mania

Creator/production credits

The photograph may have been taken by James Crichton-Browne (1840-1938), the medical superintendent at West Riding Asylum 1866-1876. Crichton-Browne sent a similar set of photographs to Charles Darwin in or around 1869

References note

David Scrimgeour, 'Wellcome Library's "Anonymous patients" become proper people', David Scrimgeour blog , 22 September 2016

Lettering note

Lettering hand-written in black ink on mount


Wellcome Library no. 35145i


  • English

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