Last month we alerted blog readers to the mini-exhibition of works by Dadd at the Archives & Museum here at Bethlem, and to a talk given by author Nicholas Tromans at its opening. Dadd aficionados will be interested to learn that Nicholas has just published an article on Dadd in the online journal The Public Domain Review; and that Bethlem’s Dadd exhibition has been extended to Saturday 5 May (when the Archives & Museum and the Bethlem Gallery will be open from 11am to 5pm).
Posts Tagged 'Nicholas Tromans'
Tags: Nicholas Tromans, Richard Dadd
Tags: art, Nicholas Tromans, oriental art, Richard Dadd, Tate Britain, The Artist and the Asylum
Dr Nicholas Tromans (author of Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum) visited the museum on Saturday 11 February to formally open the exhibition ‘Richard Dadd: An Artist Abroad’. Tromans (pictured below) gave a short talk concentrating on Dadd’s pre-Bethlem art, the topic of the exhibition, and detailing his travels between July 1842 and May 1843. He commented on Dadd’s remarkable self-assurance as a young artist abroad, considerably younger than other artists in the contemporary Orientalist movement. Dadd’s travels were financed by a gentleman tourist, Sir Thomas Phillips, with whom he travelled, making drawings of all the places they visited. As Tromans described it in his recent book, Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum:
The world through which Phillips and Dadd travelled between July 1842 and May 1843 was that of the traditional grand tour of Italy and Greece, now extended thanks to steam travel into the Ottoman world of Turkey, Egypt and ‘Syria’ (the modern-day Arab countries west of Iraq.1
The whistle-stop tour apparently alternately elated and frustrated Dadd: fascinated by the exotic places he witnessed, but not having time to draw them properly. Only two of Dadd’s sketchbooks from the time survive, one in our collections. Those who missed the fascinating talk given by Dr Tromans, or who want to hear more about Richard Dadd and his work, in particular additional information about his period at Bethlem, can catch him on You Tube.
The exhibition on Dadd at the Museum – An Artist Abroad – runs until 27 April, with a further talk by the curator on Saturday 10 March. See our website for details.
1 Tromans, N. Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum, London: Tate Publishing (2011), p. 37
Tags: Bethlem Royal Hospital, events, Nicholas Tromans, oriental art, Richard Dadd, Sir Thomas Phillips, travel painting
A new exhibition on Richard Dadd, focusing on his early work and career, opens this week in the Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives & Museum. On Saturday 11 February, Nicholas Tromans (author of Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum, available in the Museum shop) will officially open the exhibition with a talk and book signing. The exhibition focuses on Dadd’s early work, often eclipsed by his later period in Bethlem and Broadmoor Hospitals during which time he painted some of his most famous works. Yet, prior to this, Dadd had already established a reputation as an artist.
Richard Dadd began to exhibit his work in 1837, at the age of twenty, and soon began to make a reputation. He was considered to be one of the most promising young artists of his generation. At the age of twenty-five he was employed to travel with Sir Thomas Phillips through Europe and the Middle East, and make drawings of the places they visited. The Bethlem Art Collection contains paintings, sketchbooks and letters from this period of Dadd’s life, and the exhibition (running until 27 April 2012) will focus on this ten month period of Dadd’s life, towards the end of which the artist developed symptoms of severe mental disturbance, resulting in his hospitalisation in 1843.
Tromans has carried out extensive research on Dadd’s life, as well as his art. Indeed, his research on Dadd’s later paintings suggests that the travels of 1842-3 remained a strong influence on the artist in later life. Despite being best known for his fairy paintings (the most famous of which, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (1855-64) was painted at Bethlem), after his transfer to the newly-opened Broadmoor Hospital in 1864, Tromans indicates that Dadd almost entirely left behind his fairy iconography, instead focusing on the landscapes he had travelled through with Phillips. The topic of this exhibition is therefore a pivotal period in Dadd’s life.
Exhibition open: 2nd February – 27th April
Opening Event: 11 February, 2pm (Museum open 11am – 5pm)
Opening times: Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm
& Saturdays 11 February, 10 March & 14 April, 11am – 5pm
Tags: events, Mike Jay, Nicholas Tromans, Richard Dadd, Sir Alexander Morison, Tate, W. Charles Hood
Bethlem and its collections came under the spotlight in a discussion event hosted by Tate Britain on 1 December. Mike Jay (author of The Air Loom Gang, a study of famous Bethlem patient James Tilly Matthews) talked to Nicholas Tromans about his recently published work, Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum.
The conversation outlined Dadd’s life and work, and posed some interesting (if unanswerable) questions: was his illness the result of heatstroke and the stress of his travels or did heredity play a part (two of Richard Dadd’s siblings also became mentally unwell)? Does the crowded and often chaotic composition of works such as Contradiction (painted at Bethlem) serve as a sign of Dadd’s ‘madness’ or, having been removed from the world at large, was he simply free to pursue whatever style he chose without concern for prevailing fashions and commercial considerations?
The key place of Bethlem in relation to Dadd’s life and subsequent reputation was discussed at length, with particular reference to two physicians at the hospital who amassed collections of his work: Dr Alexander Morison and Dr William Charles Hood. The appointment of Patricia Allderidge as Bethlem’s first Archivist in 1967 was noted as an important milestone as it allowed for an alternative view of Dadd’s life to be presented, based on the careful consideration of archival evidence rather than political theory. Patricia’s catalogue for the Tate’s groundbreaking Richard Dadd retrospective in 1974 was for many years the only serious academic study of the artist.
Nicholas Tromans’ book, The Artist and the Asylum can be purchased from the Bethlem Archives & Museum shop for the discounted price of £20. He will also be formally opening the forthcoming exhibition, ‘An Artist Abroad’, in the Bethlem Archives and Museum on Saturday 11 February. The exhibition, focusing on Dadd’s early work, will run until 27 April. Visit our website for details.
Photograph of Richard Dadd painting Oberon and Titania at Bethlem Hospital
Tags: events, Mike Jay, Nicholas Tromans, Richard Dadd, Tate Britain
A measure of consolation is available for those who missed the recent Richard Dadd exhibition in an upcoming event at Tate Britain. At 6.30pm on 1 December, Nicholas Tromans, author of Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum will be in conversation with author Mike Jay about Dadd’s legacy.
Bookings to be part of the audience for this event are being taken online.