Virtual Book Club: 10 Madnesses by Fiona Tan

On Tuesday 9 June, Bethlem Museum of the Mind’s virtual book club will convene once more to read 10 Madnesses.

The representation of those in mental distress has been a never-ending subject of controversy and interest. ‘Mental illness is surprisingly difficult to visualise’, writes the artist Fiona Tan, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying, with results varying from the poignant to the monstrous. Bethlem Museum of the Mind’s collections are replete with portraits of patients, service users and sufferers. In 10 Madnesses, however, Fiona Tan interrogates not Bethlem’s collections but on five portraits in museums elsewhere by the French artist Theodore Géricault, and turns the spotlight not so much on the subjects of the portraits as on those who have valued, studied and interpreted them, and seen in them what they wanted to see.

The club will be supported by videos, updates and tweets on our social media channels (N.B. there will be no live discussion or video conferencing, and is free for anyone to join. All you need do is keep an eye on out YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Museum has a good stock of copies of 10 Madnesses, in a small but beautifully-made hardback edition, to send to any UK address. Please email us at to request to order.

To give your book the best chance of arriving in time for the release of the first video, please complete your order by Friday 5 June 2020.

If you live outside the UK, the Museum cannot accept your order. While we are not in a position to actually recommend any third-party supplier, it may be that the following companies are able to fulfill a small quantity of online orders for 10 Madnesses:

From at

From at

From Art Data at

From Frith Street Gallery at

Whether or not you are able to obtain a copy of the book, we look forward to you joining our virtual book club on Tuesday 9 June!

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