This book gathers the published and unpublished writings of Dr Grace Pailthorpe (1883-1971), English surgeon, specialist in psychological medicine and surrealist artist to provide an in-depth study of her work and legacy.
Pailthorpe’s theoretical understanding of the psyche informed her approach to art, setting her work apart from other Surrealist artists by unifying artistic, scientific and therapeutic aims. Pailthorpe considered Surrealism to be a method of investigation into unconscious mental life, and believed that it was essential that the repressed part of our minds should find expression. By bringing her artistic and theoretical work to light, Montanaro and Stefana reassert Pailthorpe’s significance to the histories of both psychoanalysis and Surrealism, rendering the cross-disciplinary relevance of her work accessible to a contemporary audience.
This book will prove to be a rich resource for scholars and students interested in psychoanalysis and art history, and provides an invaluable case study for the continuing significance of visual artistic practices to clinical work.
‘Grace Pailthorpe was an extraordinary figure, a pioneering female surgeon, psychoanalyst and artist. The Portman Clinic, of which she is the de jure founder, is a unique institution that specialises in studying the roots of violent, sexual and antisocial behaviour. In some ways this parallels Surrealism’s fascination with the irrational, bizarre and unconventional. This collection of Pailthorpe’s writings represents a major re-appraisal of her life and her involvement with the surrealist movement.’
Jessica Yakeley, director of the Portman Clinic, consultant psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy; associate medical director, clinical governance and medical director, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
‘Surgeon, criminologist, psychoanalyst, surrealist, painter, Grace Pailthorpe was an intrepid pioneer in every aspect of her life, not least in her unique partnership with Reuben Mednikoff. Thanks to this indispensable collection of her theoretical writings on psychoanalysis and Surrealism, we at last have access to a remarkably original mind at work.’
Elizabeth Cowling, emeritus professor, History of Art, University of Edinburgh