Mad Bad Richard Dadd by

10 March 2011

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Rated :

Story in The Shadow Conspiracy II collection, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford & Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Usually when reading a collection of short stories I read all the way to the end of the collection & then review the entire book. But that strikes me as not quite fair, especially when the book contains stories from different authors. And with the ebook option I can now read a short story here and there, previously I had to bring the book around so it was more natural to read them all one after and another. We’ll see if this review of each story continues.

Mad Bad Richard Dadd has been commissioned by Sir Thomas to paint a record of their journey through Europe. But travelling from Greece he is visited one night by a strange figure calling himself Osiris. But that is just a name this figure has taken, he is insistent that he is no supernatural character.

Dadd is a real-life character, a famous Victorian painter, and infamously a murderer. This is a possible telling of how he became this murderer.

I won’t go into more detail, after all, this is a short story, there is no point in giving away the whole malarky before even starting. Instead I’ll do the review part instead of further recapping :) And I quite enjoyed this story. I liked Casil’s idea of the “Osiris” character, and was intrigued by whether or not I believed Dadd. He is ever so slightly unreliable as narrators go.

I’m not familiar with this author, but after reading this one, I wouldn’t be averse to reading more by her. Then again, I wouldn’t be rushing straight out the door to buy one either. So entertaining and readable, but nothing earth-shattering.

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3 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    I was tempted to do just the same, namely rveiweing individual stories. when it is he collection of one author only I tend to review the book and it feel as a whole and pick one or two individual stories as examples. When the book is a collection of stories from different authors, I think the individual approach is indeed fair.

    The Osiris character does sound interesting. I don't know the author.
    Caroline´s last blog post ..Brené Brown- The Gifts of Imperfection 2010

    • Fence says:

      Yeah, I think I'd do one for the book as a whole if they are by the same author, but if I loved one story in a "various" collection & hated the others it'd be unfair :)

      I've never heard of most of these authors either, nice to read new people.

  2. mark de novellis says:

    This may be of interest…

    Richard Dadd at Orleans House Gallery

    This exhibition explores the life and work of one of the most fascinating Victorian visionaries – Richard Dadd (1817-1886).

    Works from the Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust, West London Mental Health NHS Trust and private collections are brought together to chart Dadd’s early career, travels to Europe and the Middle East, mental illness and work created while at Bethlem and Broadmoor Hospitals.

    Dr. Nicholas Tormans author of Richard Dadd: The Artist and the Asylum published this July states:

    “Richard Dadd was one of the great Victorian painters, but spent his career in psychiatric hospitals, or as they were then known, lunatic asylums. An artist of extraordinary imagination from a young age, he was a specialist in fairy subjects before a tour of the Middle East triggered the onset of a mental illness that led him to kill his father. At Bethlem Hospital and then at Broadmoor, Dadd continued to work as an artist, creating haunting images combining bold imaginative leaps with the most delicate of miniaturist’s techniques. His art today presents both a beautiful mystery and a fascinating case study in the history of psychiatry.”

    To complement the exhibition, young people with disabilities who attend the Orleans House Gallery’s regular Octagon group have worked with artist Ashley Davies to create a collaborative work inspired by Dadd’s famous fairy paintings. This project has been generously supported by the Double O Charity.

    Exhibition runs from 28 May – 2 October 2011

    Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TWE1 3DJ

    Free admission

    Gallery open Tuesdays- Saturdays 1.00-5.30pm, Sundays 2.00-5,30pm

    Tel: 020 8831 6000



    Picture credit must accompany image and the image must not be cropped.

    Richard Dadd (1817-1886)

    Portrait of Sir Thomas Phillips in Turkish Dress, 1842/3

    Watercolour on paper, 17.4 x 25.3 cm. LDBTH 774.

    © Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust

    Photograph reproduced by permission of the Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust