Richard Dadd asylum portrait up 14.5% on estimate at Bonhams
An asylum portrait by British artist Richard Dadd was boosted by a fascinating back story
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Thursday 12 July 2012
A portrait from notorious British artist Richard Dadd, created during his time at Bethlem asylum, sold 14.5% above its high estimate at Bonhams' 19th century paintings, drawings and watercolours sale yesterday (July 11).
Dadd is best known for his intricate and eerie paintings of fairies which include the masterpiece The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, which remains a popular attraction at London's Tate Britain gallery today. In contrast, the works he created while admitted to the State Criminal Lunatic Department of Bethlem Hospital are gentle dream-like watercolour portraits of the staff who were sent to analyse his behaviour.
Dadd was admitted to the hospital after returning from a trip to the Middle East convinced that he was under the influence of the Egyptian god Osiris. At first, his condition was thought to be brought on by severe sunstroke, and it wasn't until he brutally stabbed and murdered his own father and attempted another murder on a train in France that it was finally decided to lock him away.
The work, entitled Portrait of Mr George Bailey, was created 11 years into Dadd's 20 year stay at the Bethlem asylum and was one of many propduced by the artist during this time. It sold for £13,750 ($21,176) against a pre-sale valuation of £8,000-12,000.
We will be bringing you more results from the Bonhams sale shortly, so be sure to check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles regularly to see how others performed. You can view the fantastic investment-grade artworks that we currently have on offer here.
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