16th self-portrait.

  • Charnley, Bryan, 1949-1991
12 July 1991
Part of:
Bryan Charnley Self-portraits.
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view 16th self-portrait.

Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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16th self-portrait. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

Online resources

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About this work

Also known as

Sixteenth self-portrait.


12 July 1991.

Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; 50.9 x 51 cm

Biographical note

Charnley recorded the creation of the self portrait series in his diary, there were no entries recorded for the 16th portrait (12 July) or 17th portrait (19 July).
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. 1991. 16th self-portrait. [Oil on canvas]. Wellcome Collection 3049701i

References note

Reproduced in Charnley, J. (2018). Bryan Charnley: art and adversity.

Exhibitions note

Exhibited in ‘Bryan Charnley self-portraits: face to face with schizophrenia’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 21 July – 3 December 1995.


Title provided by the Estate of Bryan Charnley.
Wording in the painting reads "HOPE", "The cards are no good that I'm holding unless they are far from another world", "memory concentra", "past". The words enemy and rival are repeated in the painting.
Dated 12/7/91 + 10 mins on recto. Numbered 15(b) on verso.

Ownership note

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


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