Brown Ford Madox
born April 16, 1821, Calais, France
died October 6, 1893, London, England
English painter whose work is
associated with that of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, although he
was never a member.
Brown studied art from 1837 to 1839 inBruges and Antwerp, Belgium.
His early work is characterized by sombre colour and dramatic
feeling suited to the Byronic subjects that he painted in Paris
during 1840–43, such as Manfred on the Jungfrau (c. 1840) and
Parisina's Sleep (1842). Already concerned with the accuratere
presentation of natural phenomena, he drew from corpses in
University College Hospital in London when painting his Prisoner of
Chillon (1843). During a visit to Italy in 1845, he met Peter von
Cornelius, a member of the former Lukasbund, or Nazarenes. This
meeting undoubtedly influenced both Brown's palette and his style.
His interest in brilliant, clear colour and neomedievalism first
appears in Wyclif Reading His Translation of the Scriptures to John
of Gaunt (1847). In 1848 Brown briefly accepted Dante Gabriel
Rossetti as a pupil, and in 1850 Brown contributed to the
Pre-Raphaelites' magazine, Germ. Like William Holman Hunt, Brown
painted in the open air to obtain naturalistic accuracy.
His most famous picture, Work (1852–63), which can be seen as a
Victorian social document, was first exhibited at a retrospective
exhibition held in London (1865), for which he wrote the catalog. He
also worked as a book illustrator with William Morris; produced
stained glass, at, among other sites, St. Oswald's, Durham
(1864–65); and between 1879 and 1893 completed a series of 12 murals
for the Manchestertown hall, depicting scenes from the city's