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Tree of life.

Charnley, Bryan, (1949-1991)
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Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; 111.6 x 111.6 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.


Title provided by the Estate of Bryan Charnley.
Signed BJC in bottom right corner of recto.

Publications note

Charnely, J. (2018). Bryan Charnley: art and adversity, page 150.


Bryan Charnley. 1989. Tree of life. [Oil on canvas]. Wellcome Collection: Library no. 3049682i



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