Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Portraits of patients and sufferers in Britain, c.1660-c.1850
Author: James, Douglas Hugh
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Portraits of sufferers and patients in the long eighteenth century have been understudied – especially by comparison with portraits of doctors and other visual imagery that supposedly illuminates long eighteenth-century medical history. Yet these portraits – and the art historical methods used to analyse them – yield important new insights into the social history of medicine of this period. Such portraits were used to convey how identity was affected by illness. They were the means for debating contemporary standards of bodily judgment and character perception. In clinical settings, they were the means for doctors to analyse and compare cases. They also recorded what diseases looked like, in doing so shaping how doctors conceived of diseases and patients’ identity. In publications, portraits of sufferers and patients inscribed the medical knowledge that doctors sought to disseminate by embodying ‘expert’ visual skills. Finally, in wider cultural contexts, they expressed what was medical about the relationships that contemporaries conducted. These findings propel the histories not only of patients and ‘suffering’, but also of doctors and medical relationships – four key concerns of recent scholarship. The thesis stresses the specificity of portraiture. Portraits are analysed on their own terms alongside other visual and textual sources. This method complements the way contemporaries were ‘interdisciplinary’ as a matter of course. Meanwhile, focussing on portraiture – at once a mediating process, a technology and a genre of art – allows themes of agency, knowledge, power and representation to be intertwined. Moreover, instead of focussing attention only on doctors and patients (as people as well as medical categories), portraits reveal that medical agency is distributed between all those whose interests were at stake and advanced by the making and seeing of such portraits. Finally, this study suggests ways of setting up longue-durée comparisons between different forms of representation across different periods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available