Jump to main content
Jump to site search


An LC-MS/MS analysis of opiate residues on Thomas Chatterton's (1752–1770) memorandum book – Did he die from a laudanum overdose?

Author affiliations

Abstract

250 years after his death, Thomas Chatterton continues to create discussion amongst the literati and enchant the people of Bristol. The controversy of his life was entwinned with his writings where he passed his work off as that of a fictional medieval poet – Thomas Rowley. His premature death at the age of 17 in 1770 is also shrouded in controversy – did he commit suicide from arsenic poisoning (as stated at the original inquest into his death), or did he accidentally overdose on laudanum (as suggested by the 1947 forensic analysis)? The purpose of this study is to use state-of-art analytical methods (namely ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry using an Orbitrap mass spectrometer) to investigate the brown stain found on his memorandum book. The conclusion of this study is that that stain is made up of, amongst other things, 18 opiate and 1 opioid degradation product – 9 of which are previously unpublished, and that the spillage was indeed due to laudanum.

Graphical abstract: An LC-MS/MS analysis of opiate residues on Thomas Chatterton's (1752–1770) memorandum book – Did he die from a laudanum overdose?

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
17 Aug 2020
Accepted
13 Oct 2020
First published
13 Oct 2020

This article is Open Access

Analyst, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

An LC-MS/MS analysis of opiate residues on Thomas Chatterton's (1752–1770) memorandum book – Did he die from a laudanum overdose?

P. J. Gates and M. L. Doble, Analyst, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0AN01662D

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

  • For reproduction of material from NJC:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
  • For reproduction of material from PPS:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements