Sunday, April 23, 2017


From Peter McCandless:
During the 18th century, Bedlam became a popular attraction. People could visit on certain days, to see the "lunatics." Some histories claim that the public came to stare at and cruelly taunt the patients. Others argue that the public openness brought in money and helped prevent mistreatment. 

In the 1730's, William Hogarth famously depicted a scene in Bedlam in his didactic series, "The Rake's Progress." The rake, who has gone mad as a result of debauchery and debt, is shown at the center, naked, raving, with his head shaved. He is surrounded by stock caricatures of lunatics, including religious maniacs, megalomaniacs, melancholics, and would be popes and kings. (Read more.)

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