The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke

Richard DaddAround 1855

Tate Britain

Tate Britain
London, United Kingdom

Richard Dadd painted this work in the Bethlem Hospital where he was sent after murdering his father and being declared insane. The scene was drawn from his imagination. It shows the 'fairy-feller' poised to split a large chestnut which will be used to construct Queen Mab's new fairy carriage. The style, subject and shifting scale of the painting all contribute to a sense of the fantastic that fits the critic Herbert Read's idea of an imaginative tradition running through to Surrealism in the early twentieth century.


  • Title: The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  • Creator: Richard Dadd
  • Creator Death Place: United Kingdom
  • Creator Birth Place: Chatham, United Kingdom
  • Date Created: Around 1855
  • Provenance: 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
  • Physical Dimensions: w394 x h54 mm
  • Original Title: The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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