Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Brown, Ford Madox

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BROWN, Ford Madox, a painter, by some considered to belong to the Pre-Raphaelite school, was born at Calais, of English parents, in 1821. He is grandson of Dr. John Brown, of Edinburgh, founder of the Brunonian theory of medicine. Educated on the continent, his earlier works bear the impress of its art. It was not till 1844 that he took a decided step as an exhibitor in England by sending two cartoons to Westminster Hall. In the competition in 1845 he was unsuccessful, thongh Haydon, in his Diary, speaks of his fresco as "the finest specimen of that difficult method in the Hall." Shortly after this he visited Italy. In 1848 he sent his "Wicliff reading his Translation of the Scriptures" to the Free Exhibition, near Hyde Park, where, in 1849, he exhibited "King Lear," one of his most characteristic works. At the Royal Academy, in 1851, he produced his large picture of "Chaucer at the Court of Edward the Third," which had been several years in progress. This picture, among those selected by Government for the Paris Exhibition of 1855, received the Liverpool prize of £50 in 1858. At the Royal Academy, in 1852, was first seen his picture of "Christ washing Peter's Feet," which received the Liverpool prize in 1856, and was among the Art Treasures at Manchester in 1857. After 1852, this artist, though exhibiting at times at Liverpool, Edinburgh, and other places, did not again come before the London public till 1865, when he opened an exhibition in Piccadilly of 50 pictures, and as many cartoons and sketches. Here for the first time were seen in the metropolis his pictures of "The Last of England," "The Autumn Afternoon," "Wilhelmus Conquistator," and "Work." The last-mentioned was longer in hand than any of his other productions, and was considered by the painter and his admirers his chief work at that time. Since then he has produced "The Coat of Many Colours," "Cordelia's Portion," "Elijah and the Widow's Son," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Entombment," "Don Juan," and "Jacopo Foscari," at present in different private collections. He completed in 1878 a picture of "Cromwell," representing the great Protector dictating the famous protest to the Duke of Savoy against the cruelties that sovereign inflicted on the Vaudois Protestants. He has since been engaged on a series of illustrations of the history of Manchester, which he was commissioned to execute in the Town Hall of that city.