Monthly Archives: August 2014

Richard Dadd’s Master-Stroke

Richard Dadd by Richard Dadd, etching, 5 7/8 in. x 4 1/2 in. (149 mm x 114 mm), 1841, National Portrait Gallery, London

Richard Dadd by Richard Dadd, etching, 5 7/8 in. x 4 1/2 in. (149 mm x 114 mm), 1841, National Portrait Gallery, London

The nineteenth century group of English artists known as The Clique was progressive in its philosophy of contemporary art and rejected the academy. They preferred painting scenes of everyday life and believed in creating art to be appreciated by people rather than judged by institutions. They were critical of the Pre-Raphaelites and felt them to be too self-consciously unconventional in their paintings. Ironically, the founding member and central figure of The Clique, Richard Dadd, would become most well known for a very eccentric work that was far from genre painting. In 1843, Dadd, who had become delusional, believed his father to be the Devil and killed him. He was placed in an asylum where he was encouraged to paint, and it is there that he created his visionary masterpiece, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke.

Richard Dadd (1819–1887), The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, oil on canvas, 54 × 39.5 cm (21.3 × 15.6 in), 1855–64, Tate Britain, London

Richard Dadd (1819–1887), The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke, oil on canvas, 54 × 39.5 cm (21.3 × 15.6 in), 1855–64, Tate Britain, London

The painting was commissioned by a steward at the hospital where Dadd resided and took nine years to make. Though it is regarded by most as his seminal work, the artist himself considered it incomplete.

 

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August 1914

Stanley Spencer, Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916, oil on canvas, 1828 mm x 2184 mm, 1919, Imperial War Museum, London

Stanley Spencer, Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916, oil on canvas, 1828 mm x 2184 mm, 1919, Imperial War Museum, London

August 1914
By Isaac Rosenberg

What in our lives is burnt
In the fire of this?
The heart’s dear granary?
The much we shall miss?

Three lives hath one life—
Iron, honey, gold.
The gold, the honey gone—
Left is the hard and cold.

Iron are our lives
Molten right through our youth.
A burnt space through ripe fields,
A fair mouth’s broken tooth.

Paul Nash, Wire, watercolour, chalk, and ink on paper, 73.5 x 86 cm, 1918, Imperial War Museum, London

Paul Nash, Wire, watercolour, chalk, and ink on paper, 73.5 x 86 cm, 1918, Imperial War Museum, London

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