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Richard Dadd


Titania Sleeping

1841, Oil on canvas


    These were his paintings of scenes from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This scene depicts Titania lying in her bower of thyme, oxlips, violets and woodbine. She is gently being lulled to sleep by her attendants. This painting was displayed at the Royal Academy of Art with the quotation, "There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull'd in the flowers with dances and delight," from Oberon's speech at the end of Act II, Scene II.
    This painting was painted in the early 1940s before his descent into madness and his confinement in Bethlem Hospital. This painting along with Puck were the paintings that he was most famous for during his lifetime. This particular painting influenced his contemporaries Huskisson and Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's painting Fairies in a Bird's Nest is very similar to this painting only it makes the nest out of a more twiggy material and has Fitzgerald's own unique style of rendering fairies. Dadd's most famous masterpieces Contradiction: Oberon and Titania and The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke were not included in exhibits during his lifetime.


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