White to Play and Mate in Two

Four months ago we alerted readers to the fact that Tate Britain’s Watercolour exhibition included a work by Richard Dadd entitled The Child’s Problem, said to be one of his “most incomprehensible”. Since then we have been made aware of comment on the blogosphere on the chess-playing aspect of the puzzle. By reconstructing the places occupied by the pieces on the chessboard, it is possible to speculate that the child’s precise problem might have been whether it would prove necessary for him to cheat in order to beat his somnolent opponent.

Watercolour continues until 21 August; and the Richard Dadd exhibition at Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham until 2 October.


3 Responses to “White to Play and Mate in Two”

  1. 1 bethlemheritage June 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    A further blog on the chess problem in Dadd’s painting is now available here: http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-dadd-did-next.html

  2. 2 bethlemheritage June 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Someone as sharp-eyed as these bloggers has just noticed a figure in William Powell Frith’s painting The Derby Day that is modelled upon Richard Dadd himself, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jun/11/dj-taylor-william-powell-frith

  3. 3 bethlemheritage July 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    A further blog on the chess problem, concerning Dadd’s fellow patient Edward Oxford, is available here:


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