The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
The painting - the song

Freddie Mercury wrote this song, being inspired by the painting of Richard Dadd of the same name.
On April 18th 2004 I went to Tate Britain in London to see this painting. Sadly it was stored away temporarily so it was not on display.
I bought a large reproduction of this painting.

The various groups in the lower circle, moving counter-clockwise from the Fairy-Feller are: Ostler, Monk Ploughman and 'Waggoner Will'; two-men-about- town: a clodhopper with satyr's head (seated), a politician, 'some fairy dandy', and his nymph, two elves, a pedagogue (crouching), and the arch magician behind; two ladie's maids, Lubin and his 'Chloe or Phyllis'; two dwarf conjurers. Along the brim of the magician's hat are Queen Mab and her cortege on the left, spanish dancers on the right, with Oberon and Titania and 'a harridan' higher up. At the top left are a 'Tatterdemalion and a Junketer' and 'a dragonfly trumpeter'; to the right are soldier, sailor, tinker, tailor, ploughboy, apothecary, thief.

In a long poem, written about the time Richard Dadd finished this painting, he tells us that they have gathered at the command of the white bearded man in the middle with a gold hat and club. They are watching the Fairy Feller in brown who is about to split open a nut with his axe to make a new carriage for the Fairy Queen, Mab. Her tiny figure can be seen riding in the old one across the brim of the bearded man's hat.

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fairy_fellers_large.jpg (928080 bytes) TFFMSnames.jpg (972972 bytes)
Original on the left, with names added on the right



Richard Dadd (1817-1886)
At the age of 27 he went schizophrenic and killed his father (who happened to be an apothecary man).
Richard spent the rest of his life in asylum and there he made his wonderful paintings.