Ford Madox Brown


Contributions to The Germ:

The Love of Beauty (Sonnet)

On the Mechanism of a Historical Picture, Pt. I: the Design

Ford Madox Brown was born in Calais in 1821. He is probably best known for his detailed paintings The Last of England and Work. Madox Brown was trained on the Continent, where he encountered the Nazarenes, a group of expatriate German painters sometimes considered a forerunner of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Led by Peter Cornelius and Friedrich Overbeck, the Nazarenes championed the manipulation of religious and cultural archaisms toward a purification of art.

Madox Brown made his acquaintance with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood through Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who, unhappy with his training, wrote for permission to become Madox Brown's pupil in March of 1848. The 27-year-old painter put Rossetti to work on still-life themes. Although he was deeply affected by Madox Brown's works-in-progress--notably Chaucer at the Court of King Edward III and Wycliffe reading his Translation of the Bible to John of Gaunt--Rossetti found studying under his new mentor just as tedious as his Royal Academy training, and decided to associate with Holman Hunt instead.

Although Ford Madox Brown refused membership in the Pre-Rapahelite Brotherhood, he is regarded as its closest non-member. His influence attracted former Nazarene William Cave Thomas (1820-1906), a historical genre painter who eventually gave The Germ its name.

Ford Madox Brown's daughter Lucy married William Michael Rossetti in 1874.