About this artwork

Andrew Duncan is best known as a pioneer of the humane treatment of the mentally ill. It was the experience of seeing the brilliant young poet, Robert Fergusson in great mental anguish and lying, like a prisoner, manacled on a bed of straw in a cell that made Duncan determined to establish a public lunatic asylum. The asylum was eventually built, in the Morningside area of Edinburgh, in 1807. Together with colleagues, Duncan brought about a change in the understanding of the nature of mental illness and the treatment of those who suffered from it.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Andrew Duncan, 1744 - 1828. President of the Royal Medical Society and of the Royal College of Physicians.
  • date created:
    After 1780
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    76.20 x 62.90 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequeathed by Mrs Elizabeth Bevan 1886
  • accession number:
    PG 165
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
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