The Fairy's Rendezvous
Fairy pictures were popular in the 1830s and 40s, inspired by German Romantic legends and by Shakespeare's fairy plays. This sketch, painted about 1841, may be connected with the paintings 'The Tempest' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' which Dadd exhibited at this period. In 1843 the artist went mad, murdered his father, and was imprisoned for life at Bethlem Hospital and then Broadmoor. Encouraged by sympathetic doctors, he continued to paint fairy subjects but now in a startling bizarre style. This watercolour was given to William Clement by the artist's father, Robert Dadd. It was then passed on to the collector Joseph Mayer and subsequently transferred to the Bebington Corporation before it was later presented to the Walker Art Gallery in 1971.