This work, although unfinished, is generally considered to be Dadd's masterpiece. It was painted for H.G. Haydon, an official at Bethlem Hospital, where Dadd was sent after he became insane and murdered his father in 1843. He was transferred to Broadmoor in July 1864, before being able to complete the painting, but he later wrote a long and rambling poem entitled 'Elimination of a Picture & its subject - called The Feller's Master Stroke', which attempts to explain some of the imagery.
At his death, Arnold Goodman was described as 'for many years... Britain's most distinguished citizen outside government'. As a lawyer, his work on high-profile libel cases drew him into the affairs of state. In 1965 he was appointed chairman of the Arts Council and made a life peer. This portrait was painted over at least two series of sittings, at Sutherland's house in the South of France. At this late stage in his career, Sutherland was applying paint with great fluency, but extremely thinly, over his characteristic grid of pencil lines.
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