Born in Kent, Richard Dadd had made a promising start as a student at the Royal Academy Schools, London. After making a lengthy trip to the Europe and the Near East, his mental health deteriorated. In 1843, suffering from a form of schizophrenia, he killed his father, believing him to be the devil. Dadd fled to France and attempted a second murder before he was arrested. He spent the remainder of his life in mental institutions. Dadd, encouraged by some of his doctors, continued to paint. Athough his fairy scenes, painted in confinement, may seem linked to his madness, fairy subjects were popular with artists in the 1840s and Dadd had had success with such scenes before his illness.