Mad Fairy Painter: Richard Dadd

04 Jun

As long as we’re on the subject of slightly unhinged creative types, i present to you now a famous Victorian painter known for his faerie and other supernatural themed paintings: Richard Dadd.

The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke, Richard Dadd 1864

Richard Dadd was born in 1817 and recognized for his talent at an early age. He was admitted into the Royal Academy of Arts at age 20.

Where it gets interesting is when was 25. The former mayor of Newport, Sir Thomas Phillips asked Dadd to accompany him as his draftsman on an expedition through Europe to the Middle East and Egypt. They left in July of 1842 and as the months passed the long journey grew more and more grueling.

The Flight Out Of Egypt, Richard Dadd, 1850

At the end of December, while boating up the Nile, Dadd snapped. He became delusional and increasingly violent, and believed himself to be under the influence of the Egyptian god Osiris. Then again, who hasn’t? I have some pretty out there stories from a couple times when i was tri…. ah never mind, let’s keep going.

Titania Sleeping, Richard Dadd, 1841

When Dadd returned home in the spring of 1843 he was declared to be of unsound mind and taken to the pretty little village of Cobham, Kent to chill out and recuperate.  Which didn’t quite work. In August Dadd became convinced that his father was the Devil in disguise (and once again, who hasn’t?) and stabbed his father to death with a knife.

Sketch Of An Idea For Crazy Jane, Richard Dadd, 1855

He fled to Paris. He made it to France but before actually getting to Paris he tried to kill a tourist with a razor (and admit it, maybe you haven’t but you’ve sure wanted to), was apprehended and sent back to England where he was committed to the psychiatric institute we all know as Bedlam. (The actual name is however Bethlem).

Come Unto These Yellow Sands, Richard Dadd

He remained institutionalized for the next 40 years until his death in 1888,  but was allowed to paint. In fact, most of the paintings for which he’s known were painted while committed.

Bacchanalian Scene, Richard Dadd, 1862

Contradiction: Oberon and Titania, Richard Dadd, 1858

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


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