Survey of the Victorian artist who made a large amount of his work during his detention as a ‘criminal lunatic’ at Bethlem Royal Hospital.
The world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital, often referred to as Bedlam was once a busy public attraction, most famously portrayed in William Hogarth’s ‘A Rake's Progress’. It looked after a number of famous patients including artist Louis Wain and Victorian painter Richard Dadd. Dadd, a former Royal Academy of Schools student and established painter suffered from delusions whilst on a Middle Eastern tour in 1843, believing the Egyptian god Osiris was influencing him. On his return home, Dadd was taken to Kent to recuperate but convinced his father was the devil ended up killing him with a knife before fleeing to France. First detained at Bethlem as a ‘criminal lunatic’ and later moved to Broadmoor Hospital, where he died, Dadd produced some of his most celebrated works, like 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke' whilst incarcerated. This survey exhibition includes rarely seen sketches and paintings and a series of watercolours made on his eastern travels.