March 26, 2023
Victorian portrait painted at Bethlem hospital by affected person to go on present | Artwork

A portrait painted by an acclaimed Victorian artist whereas he was a long-term psychiatric affected person is to return to the hospital the place he spent 20 years, which is now additionally dwelling to a museum.

Richard Dadd was despatched to Bethlem Royal hospital in south London, from which the derogatory time period “bedlam” is derived, as a “legal lunatic” after stabbing his father to demise in 1843. He was later moved to Broadmoor, the place he remained till his demise in 1886.

He painted Portrait of a Younger Man 10 years after arriving at Bethlem. The identification of the sitter is unknown, however is considered both a fellow affected person or Dr William Hood, the hospital’s doctor superintendent, who inspired Dadd to proceed to color. The sitter is painted in a fantasy backyard.

The work has been loaned by the Tate to the Bethlem Museum of the Thoughts, the place it will likely be displayed alongside an 1857 photographic portrait exhibiting Dadd portray at Bethlem. The exhibition, The Faces We Current, opens in February.

Within the early years of his creative life, Dadd was recognised as one of many nice abilities of his era. He studied on the Royal Academy and attracted rich patrons. He grew to become well-known for his depictions of fairies and for portray fantastical scenes.

One in all his best-known works, The Fairy Feller’s Grasp-Stroke, additionally painted at Bethlem and in addition now owned by the Tate, impressed the rock star Freddie Mercury to put in writing a track with the identical title that was recorded by Queen in 1974.

Dadd’s psychological well being started to deteriorate whereas he was touring the Center East in 1842. He suffered from delusions, and shortly after returning dwelling to Kent he killed his father, believing him to be the satan.

Victorian portrait painted at Bethlem hospital by affected person to go on present | Artwork
Richard Dadd at his easel within the 1850s, photographed by Henry Hering. {Photograph}: Bethlem Artwork and Historical past Collections Belief

His delusions continued at Bethlem, the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, however he was given portray supplies and a workspace.

In response to Jonathan Jones, the Guardian’s artwork critic, “removed from brutal locations that tortured him, Victorian asylums gave Dadd a peculiar freedom from his personal time. The pure private imaginative and prescient his sickness unleashed will at all times make him some of the fascinating British artists of the nineteenth century”.

Portrait of a Younger Man will return to Bethlem for the primary time in 170 years for an exhibition of portraits and self-portraits by individuals dwelling with psychological ailing well being. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Bethlem Museum of the Thoughts and the South London and Maudsley NHS basis belief.

Colin Gale, the director of the Bethlem Museum of the Thoughts, mentioned: “Day-after-day, human beings current public faces that masks the tumultuous emotions churning below the floor.

“Psychological well being issues are skilled by a terrific many individuals and in all areas of society and there’s no arduous and quick distinction between the customers and suppliers of psychological well being companies. In some instances, clinician and affected person will be the identical particular person.

“Lots of these whose views are represented listed here are, after all, artists, however they’re additionally brothers, sisters, mother and father, pals and rather more. Everyone seems to be greater than the sum of their totally different roles.”

The Faces We Current is on the Bethlem Museum of the Thoughts, 22 February to 17 June. Admission is free.

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