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This work, although unfinished, is generally considered to be Dadd's masterpiece. It was painted for H. G. Haydon, an official at Bethlem Hospital, where Dadd was sent after he became insane and murdered his father in 1843. He was transferred to Broadmoor in July 1864, before being able to complete the painting, but he later wrote a long and rambling poem entitled 'Elimination of a Picture & its subject - called The Feller's Master Stroke', which attempts to explain some of the imagery.
Oil on canvas
H 54 x W 39.4 cm
Presented by Siegfried Sassoon in memory of his friend and fellow officer Julian Dadd, a great-nephew of the artist, and of his two brothers who gave their lives in the First World War 1963