The Fairy Worlds of Richard Dadd…

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Date: November 12, 2021

01) LINK


“In 1864, the nine-year long effort of a mysterious and chaotic painting called “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke” had finally been released to the world, however this would not be by the choice of the artist. As the troubled painter who had laboured for so long on this piece, had never considered this to be complete, despite the already somewhat excessive scene displayed. The name of this artist, was Richard Dadd. A Victorian painter famously known for his surreal and incredibly detailed scenes that would normally depict huge crowds of people or fairy-like characters and intricate, fantastical scenery. The tragic irony in his work being so beautifully displayed in these numerous details, was Dadd’s compulsive and obsessive mind, that would not only hinder his ability to complete his art to his own satisfaction, but would ultimately worsen over time, as he would suffer from increasing mental illness. This work is considered by many to be his ultimate achievement, but it also tells much about the fragility of a mind that’s desperate for relief and there is much to be interpreted from it, should you know a fair bit of Richard Dadd’s background. When I first encountered this painting, I felt like I had been staring for hours on end, and still managing to find something new appear from nearly everywhere I looked. I was fascinated in his techniques in creating nearly endless detail and was eager to find more examples of his work. Along the way, I also learned about his life and experiences, which tell a tragic, frightening and compelling story that revealed much meaning in his art. And today I wanted to share that story with you, as well as some of his most captivating works of art that show an enriched technique and unique talent that sadly would never truly be recognized by their own creator. This is the story and artwork of Richard Dadd.

A few errors I’ve made that I’d like to address:

– I say “Israel” instead of Palestine. I originally said “Israel” with the thought in mind that it might make the geography clearer for some viewers, but admittedly I forgot to mention that it was Palestine during the time of Richard Dadd and I apologise!
– My pronunciation of the name Titania is a tricky one. I was always taught it was acceptable to pronounce it as “Tie-tay-neea” and/or “Tit-tar-neea”, though I am aware the latter is commonly used. Including in performances that I’ve seen of the play, I have heard both pronunciations of the name used. I suppose regional dialect plays a part? Either way, until we can bring Shakespeare back to life to prove otherwise, I guess this should really be considered a To-may-toe/To-mar-toe situation.”

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