Tate   Shop Books Art history & reference Richard Dadd

Skip to content

Richard Dadd

by Nicholas Tromans

by Nicholas Tromans


Look inside

Rollover image above to zoom |

Sorry, this item is currently out of stock.
item code: 10212

The most brilliant young artist of his generation, Richard Dadd (1817-1886) made his name with a sequence of minutely executed fairy paintings of huge imaginative power. Following a long tour of the Middle East in the early 1840s he succumbed to a psychotic illness, murdered his father, and fled to France where he was apprehended by police and judged to have become insane. After being returned to England, Dadd spent over forty years in Britain's most famous lunatic asylums, Bethlem Hospital and Broadmoor, never ceasing to work as an artist.

Interpretations of Dadd's art have been coloured by Romantic notions of creativity and madness, by enthusiasm for Outsider Art, and by the ideas of Michel Foucault and the anti- psychiatry movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In the first full account of Dadd's life and career, the author examines Dadd's artistic legacy and uses his case to investigate the encounter between art and the treatment of mental illness in the nineteenth century. In the enclosed world of the asylum, Dadd's doctors were both his custodians and his patrons, while the legends of modern medicine became part of the larger mythological systems that informed the artist's work.

The public appetite for Dadd's bewitching art has never been greater, and this long- overdue reassessment provides a vivid account of one of the most fascinating artists of the Victorian era.

Nicholas Tromans is Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, London. He is the editor of The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting and has published widely on art of the nineteenth century.

  • Author Nicholas Tromans
  • Artist Richard Dadd
  • Pages 208 pp
  • Number of illustrations 100 colour illustrations
  • Dimensions 280 x 210 mm
  • Publisher Tate Publishing
  • Hardback yes
  • ISBN No. 978 1 85437 959 7

Write a review

  • Rated 5 out of 5

    For all the right reasons, his biographer Nicholas Tromans is determined to shy away from psychological speculation … Tromans is determined not to find signs of mental illness where none exists.

    Mail on Sunday

  • Rated 5 out of 5

    Tromans’s readings of the paintings are subtle and astute, but what really distinguishes his book is the close attention paid to the relationship between the artist and his minders … Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum is a troubling feast for the eye.


  • Rated 5 out of 5

    A witty and insightful account of the extraordinary life of Richard Dadd.

    The Telegraph

  • Rated 5 out of 5

    Without sensationalising Dadd's crime, Tromans intelligently explores the context to his patricide.

    Time Out

Show moreless

Standard courier delivery

You should receive your order within:

3-5 working days for UK
5-7 working days for Europe, USA, Canada, Fast East and Australasia
7-10 working days for the rest of the world

Custom prints

We aim to deliver custom prints within 14 days. As each print is individually made they take a little longer to prepare. Orders will be dispatched separately from any other item you might order from Tate Online Shop.

Delivery prices

Free standard delivery for orders over £50 (excluding certain limited editions).
For orders under £50
Standard UK delivery £3.60.
Custom prints UK £7.50
Insured UK courier £25
Certain limited editions may have higher delivery charges due to their size and value.
For delivery costs for other countries and more information on delivery click here.

Refunds & returns

Tate Online Shop want you to be totally satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you are not entirely happy with your order – whether you have changed your mind or we have made a mistake – then please contact our Customer Service team by email at shop.online@tate.org.uk or by phone on +44 (0)20 7887 8869 (Monday – Friday, 9.00–17.30).

For more information on refunds & returns click here.

For use in Tate Shop only

Customer Service: +44 (0)20 7887 8869
We accept Maestro, Visa, Mastercard, Delta and Solo
Every purchase supports Tate