Ford Madox Brown

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Ford Madox Brown

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Fleurac, Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Death: October 6, 1893 (72)
Marylebone, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Ford Brown and Caroline Madox
Husband of Emma Matilda Brown and Elizabeth Brown
Father of Catherine Madox Hüffer; Oliver Madox Brown; Arthur Gabriel Madox Brown and Emma Lucy Rossetti
Brother of Euphemia Sarah Brown and Eliza Coffin Brown

Occupation: Artist of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Hogarth Club organiser
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About Ford Madox Brown

Ford Madox Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(16 April 1821 – 6 October 1893) was an English painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style.

Life and work

Brown was the grandson of the medical theorist John Brown, founder of the Brunonian system of medicine. His great grandfather was a Scottish labourer. His father Ford Brown served as a purser in the Royal Navy, including a period serving under Sir Isaac Coffin and a period on HMS Arethusa. He left the Navy after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1818, Ford Brown married Caroline Madox, of an old Kentish family, from which his middle name was taken.[1] Brown's parents had limited financial resources, and they moved to Calais to seek cheaper lodgings, where their daughter Elizabeth Coffin was born in 1819 and their son Ford Madox Brown in 1821.

Brown's education was limited, as the family frequently moved between lodgings in the Pas-de-Calais and relatives in Kent, but he showed artistic talent in copying of old master prints. His father initially sought a naval career for his son, writing to his former captain Sir Isaac Coffin. The family moved to Bruges in 1835 so Brown could study at the academy under Albert Gregorius. Brown moved to Ghent in 1836 to continue his studies under Pieter van Hanselaere. He moved to Antwerp in 1837 to study under Gustaf Wappers. He continued to study in Antwerp after his mother's death in 1839. His sister died in 1840, and then his father in 1842.

In 1843 he submitted work to the Westminster Cartoon Competition, for compositions to decorate the new Palace of Westminster. He was not successful. His early works were, however, greatly admired by the young Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who asked him to become his tutor. Through Rossetti, Brown came into contact with the artists who went on to form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB). Though closely linked to them, he was never actually a member of the brotherhood itself. Nevertheless, he remained close to Rossetti, with whom he also joined William Morris's design company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., in 1861. He was a close friend of the landscape artist Henry Mark Anthony. Brown was also the main organiser of the Hogarth Club, a short lived replacement for the PRB which existed between 1858 and 1861.

Brown's most important painting was Work (1852–1865), commissioned by Thomas Plint [2] and which he showed at a special exhibition. It attempted to depict the totality of the mid-Victorian social experience in a single image, depicting 'navvies' digging up a road, Heath Street in Hampstead, London, and disrupting the old social hierarchies as they did so. The image erupts into proliferating details from the dynamic centre of the action, as the workers tear a hole in the road – and, symbolically, in the social fabric. Each character represents a particular social class and role in the modern urban environment. Brown wrote a catalogue to accompany the special exhibition of Work. This publication included an extensive explanation of Work that nevertheless leaves many questions unanswered.

Brown's major achievement after Work was the "Manchester Murals", a cycle of twelve paintings in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall depicting the history of the city. These present a partly ironic and satirical view of Mancunian history.


Brown was married twice. His first wife Elizabeth Bromley died in 1846 aged 27, after giving birth to a daughter Lucy. He later married his model Emma Hill, who appears in many of his paintings and is the wife in The Last of England. His son with Emma, Oliver Madox Brown (1855–1874) showed promise both as an artist and poet, but died of blood poisoning. Their daughter, Catherine, married Francis Hueffer.

He was the grandfather of novelist Ford Madox Ford and great-grandfather of Labour Home Secretary Frank Soskice. Brown is buried in London in the St Pancras and Islington Cemetery, close to Muswell Hill. He was given a secular funeral, and the funeral oration was delivered by the American Moncure D. Conway, the secularist after whom Conway Hall was later named. (See TLS 2008 article cited below)

The Ford Madox Brown, a Wetherspoons pub in Manchester, England[edit] HeritageThe Wetherspoon pub in Oxford Road, Manchester is named after Ford Madox Brown.[3] It states on the Wetherspoons website that "This J D Wetherspoon pub is named after the much-travelled artist Ford Madox Brown, a one-time resident of Victoria Park, a suburb south of the pub." The pub opened in 2007.


Wikisource has original text related to this article: Ford Madox Brown Virginia Surtees (ed), The diary of Ford Madox Brown (1981, ISBN 0300027435) Kenneth Bendiner, Ford Madox Brown: Il Lavoro, (Turin: Lindau, 1991). Kenneth Bendiner, The Art of Ford Madox Brown, (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1998) Tessa Sidey (ed), Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite, (2008, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery ISBN 978-1-904832-56-0) [edit] See alsoList of paintings by Ford Madox Brown. Category:Ford Madox Brown paintings British art English school of painting [edit] References^ Sale Of Valuable Pictures, The Times, 28 March 28, 1859 ^ Dianne Sachko Macleod, ‘Plint, Thomas Edward (1823–1861)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004 ^ Wetherspoons Website [edit] External links Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Brown, Ford Madox.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ford Madox Brown 

The iBiblio Web Museum exhibit on Brown Some of his paintings in the Carol Gerten Fine Art library Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery's Pre-Raphaelite Online Resource includes almost two hundred paintings on canvas and works on paper by Ford Madox Brown Waiting: An English fireside of 1854–5 Spartacus Educational: Ford Madox Brown Chronology on Britain Unlimited Some stained glass designs by Ford Madox Brown Ford Madox Brown in the "History of Art" Phryne's list of pictures in public galleries "The secret love of Ford Madox Brown": essay on Ford Madox Brown and Mathilde Blind, by Angela Thirlwell, from TLS, October 8, 2008 Photo of Ford Madox Brown's grave and a brief article about his time in Finchley The Pre-Raph Pack Discover more about the artists, the techniques they used and a timeline spanning 100 years.

Artist. Born in France, he was the son of English parents, and studied painting in Antwerp and Bruges, Belgium. Although he was never a member of the group of English poets and artists known as the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood", he formed close associations with the members, contributed to their journal, and gave lessons to writer William Michael Rossetti. His best known works are "The Last of England" (1855), which is now found in the Birmingham Art Gallery; "Christ Washing Peter's Feet" (1851), which is in London's Tate Museum; and "Work" (1852 to 1865), which hangs in the Manchester Art Gallery. His last important works were twelve murals in Manchester City Hall. The artist was the grandfather of the novelist, Ford Madox Ford, whose real surname was Hueffer. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=46514200" target="_blank Iain MacFarlaine)]

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Ford Madox Brown's Timeline

April 16, 1821
Fleurac, Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
July 19, 1843
Age 22
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
November 1850
Age 29
London, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
Age 33
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
September 16, 1856
Age 35
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
October 6, 1893
Age 72
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
October 6, 1893
Age 72
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom