Jeffrey Dennis

The Confinement of Richard Dadd

1985

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 980 x 915 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Charles Saatchi 1992
Reference
T06531

Display caption

As in other paintings of this time, Dennis here chooses a patterned ground. This acts as a surface as well as a void in which are placed people, objects and places. This picture stemmed from Dennis's interest in the nineteenth-century artist Richard Dadd's ability to paint water as though crystalline. His interest intensified when he realised that a trip he had made around Egypt repeated part of a journey made by Dadd. (Dadd suffered sunstroke in Egypt. On his return to England he murdered his father and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.) This painting refers to the experiences of tourism and also relates to Dennis's fascination with imaginative changes of scale in literature and the visual arts.

Gallery label, September 2004