‘Arthur Gabriel Madox Brown as the baby in ‘Work”, by Ford Madox Brown
Free gallery talks Thursday 16 and Tuesday 28 February, 1pm, Pre-Raphaelite Drawings exhibition. Tickets available from the information desk.
About the artwork
Ford Madox Brown’s drawing of his son Arthur is both poignant and significant. It is one of the studies made by Brown as he worked out the design and detail of arguably his most important painting, ‘Work ‘(now in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery). But, it is also an intimate portrait study of his 10 month old son who would not survive into his first year.
This delightful drawing of Arthur, was made as a study for Brown’s most important Pre-Raphaelite style painting ‘Work’. The painting is an allegory for the spiritual and moral value of manual work. It shows the well-to-do, the navvies, the orphaned, the commentators, the religious in a single view around a busy building site where water pipes are being laid in Hampstead. The picture illustrates vividly the various manifestations of labour in mid-Victorian England.