This is a study of clasped hands for the lost painting 'Angels watching the Crown of Thorns.' Brown made this drawing whilst on holiday with his three year old daughter Lucy at Southend. The picture was originally called 'Seraph's Watch' and it is likely that the two angels were modelled on Lucy and her playmate Milly Smith, the landlord's daughter. According to Mary Bennett it was exhibited at the British Institute in 1847 under the title of 'A Reminiscence of the early Masters' ('Ford Madox Brown at Southend in 1846: Some Lost paintings,' Burlington Magazine, vol. 115, no. 839, February 1973, pp. 74). When Dante Gabriel Rossetti was tutored by Brown in the summer of 1848 he made a copy of the painting which was later left with Holman Hunt . This is now known from a plate in volume one of Holman Hunt's biographical memoir 'Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood' and gives a good idea of what the lost original must have looked like. Hunt told Brown's biographer Ford Madox Hueffer that 'the principal characteristic of the work was its "German" balance of composition' (Hueffer, Ford Madox Brown: A Record of his Life and Works, 1896, p. 43).LM

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


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Ford Madox Brown -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Southend / F. M Brown/46
Signature and date bottom right Handwritten 1846 Brown ink.


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery p. 37
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 64

Associated people

Name Type
Dante Gabriel Rossetti Associated with

Related work & resources

Discuss this work

Start a discussion about this work.

You need to login to discuss this work. Click here to login.

If you are not yet registered click here to become a member.
Find out more about membership