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Lot 24: Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)

Victorian & British Impressionist Pictures Including Drawings and Watercolours

by Christie's

December 15, 2010

London, United Kingdom

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Description: Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)
Self Portrait, bust-length, in a brown coat
inscribed by William Michael Rossetti 'By Ford Madox Brown/Himself/c.1845/Given by him to Lucy +/me c.1880' (on a label on the reverse)
oil on board
8 x 6 in. (20.3 x 15.2 cm.)

Notes: The portrait dates from about 1844, when the artist was in his early twenties. It was painted for his first wife, Elizabeth Bromley, whom he had married in 1841, and on her death in 1846 was given to Helen Bromley, the widow of Elizabeth's brother Augustus. When Helen died in 1886, it returned to the artist, who gave it to his elder daughter, Lucy, and her husband, William Michael Rossetti.

In her recent catalogue raisonné of Brown's work, Mary Bennett suggests a connection with the artist's likeness of himself in one of his most famous paintings, The Last of England (Bennett, vol. 1, p. 174).

Provenance: Given by the artist to Helen Bromley, his sister-in-law.
On her death in 1886 returned to the artist, who gave it to his elder daughter, Lucy, and her husband, William Michael Rossetti. Thence by descent in their family.

Exhibited: London, Grafton Galleries, Works of Ford Madox Brown, 1897, no. 22.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Spring Exhibition, 1901, no. 341.
London, Leicester Galleries, Collected Works of Ford Madox Brown, 1909, no. 2. Manchester, City Art Gallery, Loan Exhibition of Works by Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelites, 1911, no. 41. Manchester, City Art Gallery, D. G. Rossetti and Madox Brown: Family Portraits, 1920, no. 41
Hampstead, Central Library, Art Exhibition ... Chiefly of Works by Hampstead Artists, 1928, no. 143.
Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Ford Madox Brown, 1964, no. 7.

Literature: Manuscripts
The artist's account book (Violet Hunt Papers, Cornell University).
Letter from the artist to William Michael Rossetti, 1889 (?) (Angeli-Dennis Collection, University of British Columbia, Vancouver).

Printed sources
Helen Rossetti Angeli, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: His Friends and Enemies, London, 1949, illustrated facing p. 42. Mary Bennett, Ford Madox Brown: A Catalogue Raisonné, Yale, 2010, vol. 2, p. 381, no. B31, illustrated.

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