This is a tracing of the figure of Milton, one of the poets in the wings of the unfinished triptych 'The Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry.' Brown began work on the triptych in 1845 but later abandoned the wings. The central panel became 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III.' The same figure appears on the verso of one of the early compositional studies for the central section (1906P680) dated 1845. The size of the tracing and that of the original figure on 1906P680 match exactly. The original was first drawn as a pencil sketch. Ink was then added over the top to solidify the outline, perhaps in order to make this tracing. Both the original and the tracing have pencil drapery lines across the thighs further linking the two versions. This suggests that Brown traced this figure from the one on the back of the compositional study in order to transfer his design to other studies. The tracing was previously attributed to Frederick Sandys but was reattributed to Brown in 2001 by Betty Elzea ('Frederick Sandys 1829-1904: Catalogue Raisonné,' p. 142). LM

  • Purchased and presented by subscribers, 1906.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Ford Madox Brown -
Attributed to (previously) Frederick Sandys -


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p. 396
Frederick Sandys 1829-1904: Catalogue Raisonné
Betty Elzea 2001 Antique Collectors Club (in association with Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service) p. 142


Almost certainly to have been acquired by Charles Fairfax Murray from the artist, or from the sale of the contents of the Sandys family home after the death of Sandys' mother in September 1883 (Elzea).

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