Lucy Madox Brown
Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)
Oil on canvas and panel
29 x 29 cm. (11 5/8 x 11 1/2 inches)
Signed bottom left: "F MADOX BROWN 1861."
The Crowther-Oblak Collection of Victorian Art
Source: Awakening Beauty
See commentary below
Provenance: J. G. Kershaw; Private Collection, Switzerland. Bought as Lot 63, Beurett and Bailly, Basle, Switzerland, 21st June 2014.
Commentary by Paul Crowther
Lucy Madox Brown (1843-1894) was the artist's daughter from his first marriage (who later became an artist herself). She married William Michael Rossetti. This painting is the second version of an earlier work by Brown. Ford Madox Hueffer notes that in 1861, Brown had completed two large works, and that "Besides these, there was the usual amount of retouchings before sales, and one duplicate, the head of the artist's daughter Lucy, the original of which was painted in Paris, circa 1844. As a matter of fact it was only by dint of these retouchings and replicas that Madox Brown contrived to support himself during the painting of works demanding so much time and labour as the picture of Work" (172-73). It seems likely, then, that Brown painted the present copy of the earlier painting of his daughter, in order to sell it. However, why did he choose that picture to copy? It might be explained by the fact that studies of children were very popular with the Victorian art-buying public. There is also the possibility that he chose the 1844 picture because of fond associations between it and memories of his first wife.
The picture is interesting in formal terms because of its use of a favourite Brown compositional device—the use of a circular form (such as a bonnet) to frame the sitter's face, and the introduction of a tangent or curve of red or pink for visual liveliness. (This device is central to the woman emigrant in Brown's important work, The Last of England [1855, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery]).
You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Crowther-Oblak Collection of Victorian Art and and the National Gallery of Slovenia and the Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway (2) and link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.
Bennett, Mary. Ford Madox Brown, A catalogue raisonné. Vol. 2. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. 389, no. B 48.1.
Crowther, Paul. Awakening Beauty: The Crowther-Oblak Collection of Victorian Art. Exhibition catalogue. Ljubljana: National Gallery of Slovenia; Galway: Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, 2014. No. 8.
Hueffer, Ford M. Ford Madox Brown. A Record of His Life and Work. London, New York, and Bombay: Longman, Green, and Co., 1896.
Last modified 8 December 2014