Richard Dadd

The Flight out of Egypt


On display at Tate Britain

Richard Dadd 1817–1886
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1010 x 1264 mm
frame: 1255 x 1515 x 100 mm
Purchased 1947

Display caption

In the early 1840s Richard Dadd accompanied Sir Thomas Phillips on a long tour of the Middle East as a travelling artist. On his return he showed signs of mental disturbance and murdered his father, claiming he was under the influence of the Egyptian god Osiris. Untitled by the artist, this painting is an assemblage of some of the scenes he encountered. In a letter of 1842, Dadd revealed his elation and confusion: ‘the excitement of these scenes has been enough to turn the brain of an ordinary weak-minded person like myself, and often I have lain down at night with my imagination so full of wild vagaries that I have really and truly doubted my own sanity.’

Gallery label, November 2016

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