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Digital Subscriptions > Mental Health Nursing > Apr/May 2019 > Edward Adamson and the history of art therapy

Edward Adamson and the history of art therapy


Over the last decade, the work of Edward Adamson (1911-1996) and the Adamson Collection have been re-discovered, after years of obscurity and the near loss of the art work.

Altogether it is an incredible story. The British asylums were grim after World War 2 and, though there are optimistic developments such as the Open Door Movement and occupational therapy, they were restrictive environments, with people hospitalised for most of their lives, and with a predominance of ‘medical’ interventions that now horrify us, such as insulin coma therapy, cold baths and lobotomies.

Adamson was a young artist and conscientious objector during World War 2, who started work in a research art studio in a long-term asylum, Netherne in Surrey, in 1946. He then entered the terrifying world of the asylum.

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About Mental Health Nursing

This special themed edition of Mental Health Nursing is on art and therapy in mental health. It includes: - Articles on the history and use of art therapy in modern practice - Service user views - Reflections on using arts therapies - Part one of a comic series on suicide prevention - Student perspective - Interview with a head arts therapist