Richard Dadd (August 1 1817 – January 7 1886) was a Victorian painter of fairies and other supernatural subjects, depicting them with obsessively minuscule detail. A talented early career led to admission to the Royal Academy of Arts at the age of 20. With William Powell Frith, Augustus Egg, Henry O'Neil and others, he founded The Clique.
On his return, he was diagnosed to be of unsound mind and was taken by his family to recuperate in the countryside village of Cobham, Kent. In 1843, Dadd murdered his father with a knife whilst deluded, believing him to be the Devil in disguise, and fled for France; en route to Paris Dadd attempted to murder another tourist with a razor, but was unsuccessful and was arrested by the police. Dadd confessed to the murder of his father and was returned to England, where he was committed to the criminal department of Bethlem psychiatric hospital.
In the hospital he was allowed to continue to paint and it was here that many of his masterpieces were created. After 20 years at Bethlem, he was transferred to Broadmoor, another psychiatric hospital, where he lived out the rest of his life.
Which condition he suffered from is unclear, but it is usually understood to be a form of schizophrenia. Alternatively, it is sometimes claimed that he suffered from what is now known as bipolar disorder.
His most celebrated painting, The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, was to become the title of a song by the rock band Queen. Come unto these Yellow Sands, a play based on his life, was written by Angela Carter.