Hope Mirrlees
Lud-in-the-Mist Cover



In the Tate gallery in London there is a small (26 x 21 inches) painting that I always took time to view when I was in the Tate. Called the Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, it perfectly encapsulates the Victorian view and obsession with Faerie. Painted by Richard Dadd (while he was imprisoned in the madhouse of Bedlam for the murder of his father) over the course of nine years each individual leaf is given detailed attention.

Written in 1926 Lud-in-the-Mist reminds me of Dadd's masterpiece. Short, minutely detailed and written in exquisite prose it too encapsulates the Victorian idea of Faerie. Perfectly English and out-shiring Tolkien at every level this little gem is a must-read.