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This work was partly based on memories and sketches made by the artist on his 1842 tour of Europe and the Middle East. The open landscape is an unusual feature in the paintings Dadd made after his imprisonment and it is likely to have been based on views from the terrace at Broadmoor asylum. The figures of the musicians were probably drawn from inmates, while the instruments were observed from those owned by Dadd who was a passionate musician. The theme may derive from the Idylls of Theocritus, the Ancient Greek pastoral poet whose name appears on the broken frieze in the foreground.

May 2007