TThe Fairy-Feller's Master-Stroke

The Fairy-Feller's Master-Stroke

Richard Dadd (1819-87)


Oil on canvas

21.25 X 15.5 inches

Tate Britain

Commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee

This small oil-painting was the first of Dadd's canvases to become widely known (Allderidge). It captures a single tense moment amongst the "little folk" on the forest floor. With his back to us in the foreground, down amongst the thin spiked grass, pebbles, daisies, hazelnuts, prickly plane-tree fruits and so on, the Fairy Feller or woodcutter has raised his axe to split an upright nut, apparently to serve as Queen Mab's new chariot (see Lambourne 202, and Romeo and Juliet, I, 3, l. 68) [Continued below] .