Art: From the Dark Garden of the Mind

"Although the grave has not actually closed over him, he must be classed among the dead." Few English artists can have received a more crushing valediction than this, written in an art journal in 1843, on a 26-year-old painter named Richard Dadd. He probably never read it, for he had just been bundled off to Bethlem Hospital (whose lugubrious halls of madmen had given the word "bedlam" its English use) in a strait-waistcoat.

That August, the young artist—of whom an acquaintance testified that "a person more invariably gentle, kind, considerate and affectionate did not exist"—had tucked a spring-loaded knife into his pocket...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!