By Lesley Krueger

A riveting tale of expertise and the cost it exacts, set in a richly imagined Victorian England

Called the main promising artist of his iteration, good-looking, modest, and affectionate, Richard Dadd rubbed shoulders with the nice luminaries of the Victorian Age. He grew up alongside the Medway with Charles Dickens and studied on the Royal Academy colleges below the bright and kooky J.M.W. Turner.

Based on Dadd’s tragic precise tale, Mad Richard follows the younger artist as he develops his craft, contemplates the character of artwork and repute — as he watches Dickens navigate these difficult waters — and eventually unearths himself imprisoned in Bedlam for homicide, devoted as criminally insane.

In 1853, Charlotte Brontë — approximately to post her 3rd novel, being affected by unrequited love, and herself wrestling with questions about artwork and artists, category, obsession and romance — visits Richard at Bedlam and unearths an unforeseen kinship in his feverish brain and his haunting work.

Masterfully slipping via time and reminiscence, Mad Richard maps the inventive temperaments of Charlotte and Richard, weaving their divergent lives including their shared fears and follies, desires, and crushing illusions.

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