Brown, Ford Madox (1821-1893)

Brown, Ford Madox, historical painter, a grandson of the founder of the Brunonian system, was born at Calais, 16th April 1821. His earlier studies were conducted at Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp ; and during a three years' residence in Paris he produced his ' Manfred oil the Jungfrau' (1841), and 'Parisina's Sleep' (1842), works intensely dramatic in feeling, but sombre in colouring. In 1844-45 he contributed three subjects to the Westminster cartoon competitions; one of them was carried out in 1861 as an oil-picture, ' Willelmus Conquistator.' A visit to Italy (1845) led him to seek greater variety and richness of colouring, and its results were seen in ' Wyclif reading his Translation of the Scriptures to John of Gaunt' (1848), and ' Chaucer reciting his Poetry' (1851). In 1850 he was a contributor of verse, prose, and design to the Pre-Raphaelite Germ, and in his youth Rossetti worked in his studio. Among the most important works in his fully developed manner are ' Cordelia and Lear,' 'Christ washing Peter's Feet,' 'Work,' 'The Last of England,' 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'The Entombment,' 'Cromwell dictating the Vaudois Despatch to Milton,' and, in landscape, the 'English Summer Afternoon.' In 1865 he held an exhibition of his collected works in London. In 1879 he engaged on a great series of twelve frescoes depicting the history of Manchester for the town-hall of that city. He had just completed it, when he died, 6th October 1893. See Life by Ford Madox Hueffer (1896).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 138.

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