Hugh Welch Diamond was the son of a surgeon with the East India Company. He attended the Royal College of Surgeons in 1824 before moving to the Betham Hospital in 1833, and in 1834 he was elected to the Royal College of Surgeons. Diamond was interested in antiquities and became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities in 1834. In 1839, hearing of Talbot's discoveries, Diamond made photograms. His interest in photography continued and he was a founding member of the Calotype Society.
In 1848 Diamond was appointed superintendent of the female department of the Surrey County Asylum, and he made many portrait studies of patients in the early 1850s, which he attempted to use as therapeutic tools. During this time, before any British photographic journals had been founded, Diamond was a major contributor of advice on photographic processes and techniques through the weekly antiquarian journal Notes and Queries, and he encouraged many to learn photography, including Henry Peach Robinson. Diamond later became Secretary of the Photographic Society of London and editor of the Photographic Journal.
Gilman, Sander L, editor. The Face of Madness: Hugh W. Diamond and the Origin of Psychiatric Photography. New York: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 1976.