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Untitled by the artist, this painting is a gathering of experiences witnessed by Dadd while travelling in the Near East (1842-1843). 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.’ The journey may have hastened his mental decline. On his return, believing the Egyptian Gods required a sacrifice, he murdered his father.

July 2010