In 1844 Ford Madox Brown submitted an oil sketch of 'The Ascension' to a competition to design an altarpiece for the church of St James, Bermondsey, South London. This is a study for one of the apostles in the picture. Unfortunately, he did not win the competition and the commission went to the little known artist John Wood (1801-1877). On the other side is a drapery study for 'The Spirit of Justice,' a large cartoon that Brown was also working on in 1844. He entered this design in the third of a series of fresco competitions to decorate the interior of the newly rebuilt Houses of Parliament in 1845. The drapery study is for the bishop on the left of the composition. In the final cartoon the ecclesiastical robes have been considerabley altered. Only fragments of the cartoon survive one of which is now at Manchester Art Gallery.LM

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


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Ford Madox Brown -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Exhibition of the Works of Ford Madox Brown
190 Grafton Galleries, London 1897 - 1897


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Exhibition of the Works of Ford Madox Brown
1897 Grafton Galleries, London p. 49
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p. 29
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 64

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