[Bryan Waller Procter (the poet 'Barry Cornwall'), as Commissioner in Lunacy.] Autograph Letter Signed ('B. W. Procter'), asking a colleague (Harris?] for information about the 'Conduct' of 'some patients', 'particularly about Miss Anne [Lealer?].

Bryan Waller Procter (1787-1874), poet under pseudonym 'Barry Cornwall' and Commissioner in Lunacy, 1832-1861, member of London Magazine circle, friend of Charles Lamb, Thackeray and Wilkie Collins
Publication details: 
On letterhead of the Office of Commissioners in Lunacy, 19 New Street, Spring Gardens [London]. 12 August 1847.
SKU: 21638

Proctor was a much loved individual in literary circles, from the days of the London Magazine to the mid-Victorian period, in which he was the dedicatee of both Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair' and Wilkie Collins's 'Woman in White'. His reputation as a poet was international: he was thought highly of by Pushkin. 1p, 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to blank reverse. The letter reads: 'Dear [Harris?] | Pray tell me where [?] I can have some conversation with you about some patients of the name of [Lealer? Lester?], whom you know. If an interview be difficult, then you will perhaps tell me what you know about them (their Conduct I mean) particularly about Miss Anne [Lealer? Lester?]' From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.