Richard Dadd

Richard Dadd In The Summer Of , Richard Dadd Was The Resident Artist For An English Expedition Through Greece, Turkey And Egypt Towards The Trip S End, Dadd Underwent A Dramatic Personality Change, Believing Himself To Be Under The Command Of The God Osiris Upon His Return To England, He Was Diagnosed Of Unsound Mind And Was Taken By His Family To Recuperate In Cobham, Kent It Was Here, In August , That Dadd Murdered His Father, Before Fleeing To France Where He Was Eventually Captured And Committed To Bedlam Psychiatric Hospital In London Over The Next Years, Dadd Made Some Of Victorian Britain S Most Mesmerizing Paintings, Such As His Endlessly Detailed Masterpiece, The Fairy Feller S Masterstroke A Proto Psychedelic Fairy Drama Whose Fame In The S And S Prompted The Rock Band Queen To Record A Song About It, And Which Remains One Of Tate Britain S Most Visited Paintings The Tale Of The Rediscovery Of Dadd S Greatest Watercolor, The Artist S Halt In The Desert, On The Antiques Roadshow In Has Also Entered Popular Folklore Richard Dadd The Artist And The Asylum Is The First Thorough Monograph On This Neglected Victorian Virtuoso Alongside Its Color Plates, Critical Essays Overturn Several Myths About Dadd Revealing, For Example, That His Jailers Were Generous And Often Acted As His Patrons Rather Than As His Oppressors And Trace The Critical Reception Of His Now Widely Admired ArtRichard Dadd Was Born In Chatham, Kent, And Entered The Royal Academy At The Age Of In , Sir Thomas Phillips Chose Dadd To Accompany Him As His Draftsman On An Expedition To The Middle East, During Which The First Signs Of The Artist S Schizophrenia Emerged Following His Murder Of His Father In , Dadd Was Incarcerated In Bedlam Hospital, Later Being Moved To Broadmoor, Where He Died In

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  • Hardcover
  • 208 pages
  • Richard Dadd
  • Nicholas Tromans
  • English
  • 03 February 2017
  • 9781935202684

10 thoughts on “Richard Dadd

  1. says:

    Richard Dadd the Artist and the Asylum is an unusual book, lavishly illustrated with Dadd s works, and giving equal weight to both topics Dadd was a supremely talented painter, who painted imaginative scenes in minute detail Yet over half his life was spent in what were then two lunatic asylums, Bethlem on the site of the present Liverpool Street Station and Broadmoor He had had what appears to be a psychotic illness, had murdered his father and was attempting to kill another man on a train, when he was apprehended and taken to the insane asylum.His paintings, of course, show none of this mental chaos Their execution is superbly controlled they are little masterpieces of intricate design By far the most famous is The Fairy Feller s Master Stroke , and details from this are reproduced often than the entire painting itself Sometimes it is the only work a person may know of by this artist, and has certainly become the most studied one after his death It was even owned by the poet Siegfried Sassoon at one point He gave it to the Tate Art Gallery in 1963, where it remains Sassoon had just rescued it from an unscrupulous Art dealer, who was trying to sell the painting after Sassoon had loaned it to him for valuation The cover of this book shows just one such detail A complicated design of numerous parts, numerous stories , The Fairy Feller s Master Stroke is quite a small canvas only a couple of feet tall as all Dadd s works were, and took him nearly a decade to complete In fact it is unknown whether it is, in fact, completed It certainly was incomplete when he was transferred to Broadmoor in 1864 Dadd often used disturbed minds from Shakespeare s characters as starting points for his works, and this is the best example There is also a poem which he wrote to accompany it, Elimination of a picture and its subject called the Feller s Master Stroke The manuscript of the poem, still in the Bethlem archive, consists of a small notebook with 24 leaves, showing Dadd s tiny, cramped handwriting getting increasingly smaller towards the end The poem is printed in full in this book The most famous photograph of the artist shows him at his easel, working on The Fairy Feller s Master Stroke , and looking out for a moment with a peculiarly maniacal expression on his face Dadd never painted for an audience he was dismissive of such ideas He said that he painted because the spirits told him to, and that what he painted was what they said.Richard Dadd the Artist and the Asylum includes many of his doctor s reports verbatim, from both Bedlam 1854 onwards and Broadmoor 1864 1886 It is surprising to a modern reader how sensitive and knowledgeable they were for the time There is a stereotype we have of lunatic asylums from Victorian times, as hellish institutions with cruel and ignorant doctors Yet these verbatim reports show that Richard Dadd s doctors were dedicated and educated men, who continually reassessed him with a hope of some sort of recovery There are also his sketches and etchings of the wards and common rooms, which seemed quite restful places Yes, the patients were clearly in their own little world sometimes, but it is not the common perception of Bedlam at all, and quite an eye opener in a different way This book from 2011 is one of just a handful of books published about Richard Dadd Possibly he is not very well known outside the UK, and certainly he is an artist whose work is sometimes in vogue and sometimes not There was a revival of interest in the late 1960s and 1970s, as a reaction to the interest in Victorian sentimentality His paintings are often concerned with Faery, a world which he seemed to totally believe in to the point of obsession, and here the creatures are grotesques, often with distorted or malevolent expressions, rather than twee fragile nymphs The quality of his imagination is similar in a way to that of William Blake The book tells Dadd s life story He was born in Chatham, Kent in 1817, the year before the Dickens family arrived there His father was a high street chemist, an intellectual man who encouraged his son s artistic bent, taking him round the London museums and Art Galleries His mother sadly died when he was six, leaving Dadd senior with seven children to bring up He remarried, and fathered two further sons, but became a widower again Despite this, Richard Dadd s childhood seems to have been a caring one He attended Art classes in London after the family had moved there, and the book shows some of his early watercolours and sketches, often portraits He seems to have been supremely confident in his abilities The young Dadd gave the impression of absolute self possession, so confident in his talent that he could afford to seem not to require the protection of his superiors His work from the 1840s was often shown at the London exhibitions It is primarily concerned with the world of Faery, which stayed a preoccupation all his life, plus many illustrations from Shakespeare s plays Fascinated by the East, he also became part of the Orientalist movement, and made a tour of the Eastern Mediterranean Athens, Istanbul, Alexandria, Cairo, Thebes and many other places which lasted almost a year, and from which he amassed hundreds of sketches and watercolours He returned via Europe Naples, Rome, Venice and so on becoming very interested in the religious and devotional Art of Italy His erratic behaviour seems to date from around this time.On his arrival home, his friends and family were increasingly concerned about his behaviour suspecting that he might be suffering from sunstroke Dadd himself worked incessantly, trying to regain the reputation he felt had lapsed while he was away, and making oil paintings from the many sketches from his tour He sometimes referred to his diabolic possession. Ironically, the fact that his friends and family became ever concerned fed into his delusions, and he complained that he felt as if he was being watched His father asked for a medical opinion from an eminent psychiatrist of the time Dadd asked to talk to his father they met in a peaceful park in Cobham where Dickens s Pickwick had consoled his friend Tupman , and this is where Dadd s father met his death at the hands of his son.The body was recovered the next morning, but it is unclear what actually happened, except that it was a messy business involving a knife Was Dadd overwhelmed by a feeling that some sacrifice was demanded by the gods and spirits above, as he claimed a good thirty years later Or was this a rationalisation conjured up later by a disturbed mind His earlier account had been that he, inveigled him, by false pretences, into Cobham Park, and slew him with a knife, with which I stabbed him, after having vainly endeavoured to cut his throat Dadd got as far as Calais before being arrested He claimed that he was then on his way to assassinate the Emperor of Austria Ferdinand I Just before his arrest he had felt impelled to attack a fellow passenger on the train and inflict serious wounds From this night of 30th August 1843 onwards, he was never again released as a free man He eventually died of typhoid in Broadmoor, in January 1886.The book records in detail the delusions as reproduced by both Dadd and his doctors, and to a modern mind it seems a clear case of schizophrenia, although it was a few years yet before such textbook symptoms could be identified as such It is indeed tragic that such a talented artist lived at a time before any of his symptoms could be relieved, and he was clearly one of the worst sufferers However, mental disorders such as this are not unusual with highly creative people, The history of cyclical manic depressive illness or bi polar disorder has always been closely linked with creative originality The long lists of famous writers, artists and composers who have been touched with fire as one survey of the relationship is titled, are familiar The doctors of the time knew that mental illness was basically organic and biological, just as any other illness, but had no remedies other than tranquillising therapies, useful labour and kindness They also thought that there may be links between madness and genius, which is in line with current ideas from neuroscience It seems very likely that Dadd s excessively imaginative mental leaps provided a trigger for his insanity And perhaps it was for therapeutic reasons that he was allowed to continue with his painting whilst in the institutions The paintings made their way on to the Art market, and into people s homes, but sadly Richard Dadd s home for the rest of his life was an insane asylum It must have been grim indeed For although this was at a time when there was an outcry against the inhumane way mentally ill patients had sometimes been treated, institutions like Bethlem were still beleaguered places, The criminal lunatics at Bethlem comprised not only patients like Dadd, whose crimes were accepted to have been the result of illness, but also convicts who had become mentally ill whilst serving time in regular prisons For the rest of his life, Dadd was one of only two or three patients listed as being Dangerous , confined in a building characterised as, a treacherous and explosive compound of badness and madness In the 1960s there was a strong reaction against lunatic asylums The general public, policymakers and intellectuals all began to wonder to various extents whether all psychiatry was corrupt, whether mental illness might merely be a symptom of society s ills and repressions, rather than a disease of the brain Dadd was hailed as, the hero of the new Victorian asylum story the artist who had maintained his integrity despite being put away for decades, an outrageous imagination that refused to be eclipsed He thus became an icon for the anti psychiatry movement of the late 1960s, fitting R.D Laing s Oedipal interpretation of schizophrenia as a reaction to the impossibilities of family life In the early 1970s, posters of The Fairy Feller s Master Stroke began to be seen in homes all over the country A major exhibition of his work was mounted in 1974 His fascination continues, and he is one of the most frequently fictionalised British artists the subject of plays and novels, and meriting mentions in diverse works of art, literature and music But is he a hero, as the 60s revivalists thought Or a victim And if a victim, of whom, or likely of what, is he a victim

  2. says:

    Richard Dadd The Artist and the Asylum is not a book that would be to everyone s taste I would never have read it if I hadn t read Bionic Jean s review of it.It s the story of an up and coming artist in the early 1800 s who agrees to go on a tour of the Middle East with a patron of his In return for his expenses, he is to make sketches of all the ancient wonders they see However his patron sets such a frantic pace that Dadd hardly has time to sleep much less sketch When he returns from the tour, it is obvious to his friends and family that something is wrong He proceeds to murder his father, claiming that he made a sacrifice for Osiris, an ancient Egyptian god He runs away to France where he almost kills a fellow passenger, claiming that voices are commanding him to do this He is taken into custody and declared insane Something about the Middle East trip seems to have triggered what we today would call schizophrenia.He is to spend the rest of his life in asylums such as Bethlem and Broadmoor This is where the book really starts to drag Nothing much happens except that he continues to paint while incarcerated but he receives no monetary gain or public recognition for his paintings They mostly disappear into the private collections of those in charge of the asylums It isn t until these men start to die that Dadd s paintings are sold as part of the estate Many of them now reside in British museums.The book contains many of his paintings This is not an easily accessible book I had to borrow it through an interlibrary loan from the Milwaukee Public Library It would be very expensive to buy.Just an interesting little footnote There is a YouTube video of a song called Fairy Feller s Master Stroke, written by Freddy Mercury and performed by Queen This is the name of one of Richard Dadd s paintings and his painting can be seen in the background of the video.

  3. says:

    At last, I thought, a book concerning Dadd other than Patricia Allderidge s catalogue and the Rock and the Castle of Seclusion by David Greysmith Being a huge Dadd fan this was a must read for me and it is a good and a welcome addition however I ended up disappointed There is a lot of information on Bedlam and Broadmoor, the regime, conditions and developments over Dadd s incarceration However there is less information on the man himself which is understandable first hand sources are few I felt a real sense of missed opportunity though at the limited series of plate reproductions My interest in Dadd is focused on his meticulous watercolours especially the Passions series and I was really hoping for a good spread of these but there are only a few reproduced I was left wondering why valuable picture space was taken up with photos of bit players and extraneous Victorian fairy pictures by Maclise What a shame to blow it when there is still no definitive art book of Dadd s work There is much detail and information on the art work in the Tate catalogue and there is much on the man himself in the David Greysmith book which is also better written although I think that might be out of print I would recommend both of those tomes over this book Still if you re a Dadd fan this is worth buying due to the dearth of info out there.

  4. says:

    A fascinating story of the Victorian artist who murdered his father, fled across the channel and was committed to a French asylum in 1843 after attempting to slit the throat of a fellow coach passenger He was soon brought back to England to commital in Bedlam, and later transferred to Broadmoor, where he died in 1886, after 43 years spent in asylums His story mirrors the changes and reforms in psychiatric care through these decades While incarcerated his painted his most famous work, The Fairy feller s Master Stroke, a tangled and complex interpretation of a speech by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, which describes Queen Mab coaxing humans to reveal their innermost shame and desires through dreams.

  5. says:

    Dadd is a fascinating character and this book is useful in showcasing his oeuvre and highlighting his relationship to the History of art which has been slow to recognise him.Interesting to read about Bedlam and how attitudes towards the mentally ill and their art have slowly evolved.

  6. says:

    Reads like a textbook, but lacks organization and often trails off into rambling conjectures concerning Dadd s possible influences at the expense of admittedly scarce biographical information I wish of Dadd s art had been included, but what s here is obviously beautiful Overall a flawed package, but probably the best Richard Dadd bio we re going to get.

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