Skip to main content

"Songe de la Fantasie": 3713

An image of Drawing

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Awaiting location update


"Songe de la Fantasie"


Draughtsman: Dadd, Richard




History note: Source unknown (found in large portfolio 1945 - possibly ex Perceval bequest?)

Measurements and weight

Height: 383 mm
Width: 314 mm

Relative size of this object

31.4 m38.3 m What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Unknown by Anonymous


Production date: AD 1864-11


The present drawing is a later version of the oil 'The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke' of c. 1855-64, which was previously in the collection of Siegfried Sassoon and who presented it to the Tate Gallery (inv. no. T.598) in 1963. [For a further description of this picture see the 'Tate Gallery Report' 1963-4, p. 20, repr. facing p. 30, also see L. Binyon, "A note on Richard Dadd" in Magazine of Art, Washington, XXX, 1937, pp. 107, 125, 128, repr. p. 106; S. Sitwell, 'Narrative Pictures', 1937, pp. 70-2, 113, repr. pl. 100; J. Hadfield, 'A Book of Delights', 1954, p. 251, repr. facing p. 194 (in colour)]; Ricketts suggests that the Fitzwilliam replica may have been executed when Dadd moved from Bethlem to Broadmoor, without the original in front of him, which was no mean feat considering the minuteness of its detail. "The work is overlaid with calligraphic loops to a greater extent than in the oil painting and a spiral conveying the idea of a shell, occupies the centre, behind which the figures are the palest of ghosts."

School or Style


Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of ivory board

Techniques used in production

Watercolour : Pen, ink, point of the brush, watercolour on card ("Ivory Board" stamped top left corner) with traces of faint graphite underdrawing
Pen and ink

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Songe de la Fantasie
  • Location: Top left corner
  • Method of creation: Ink
  • Text: Rd. Dadd Novr. 1864
  • Location: Top left corner, below the above
  • Method of creation: Ink
  • Type: Signature
  • Text: Painted by / Rd / Dadd / an artist of / great promise who / murdered his father & was / imprisoned at Bedlam: / EWB saw him there at / work on "Saul in the Trenches(?) / he was then removed / to Broadmoor, & Dr. Meyer (?) / gave this to EWB (the / actual picture not an engraving)
  • Location: Verso
  • Method of creation: Label graphite

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: 3713
Primary reference Number: 10158
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 26 April 2017 Last processed: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) ""Songe de la Fantasie"" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-03-29 20:53:41

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title="Songe de la Fantasie" |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-03-29 20:53:41|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt=""Songe de la Fantasie""
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">"Songe de la Fantasie"</figcaption>

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

La Prise de Przemysl 22 Mars 1915

Accession Number: P.56-1994


Accession Number: CM.1.2903-1990

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...