This is one of the earliest sheets of studies for Chaucer at the Court of Edward III (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney) and shows Brown working out various characters and their poses. It was executed in 1845 whilst he was living in Rome. Faint writing on the sheet may be the names and addresses of models he used during his stay in Italy. The main study on the left is for the figure of Edward III. His pose only changes slightly from this early study to that in the final painting. Brown used the same elderly model for the sketches of two courtiers which appear in the painting. The Birmingham collection also holds drapery and head studies relating to these figures (1906P734, 1906P735 and 1906P787). The nude figure in the bottom left hand corner is most likely to be for the jestersitting on the right of the painting. In an early chalk study of the the whole composition (1845, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford) the jester is crouching with his right arm in the same position and holding a staff as indicated in this nude study. The hand studies, the figure of the page slumped over, and the head of a man wearing a crown of leaves do not appear to have been used in the final version and may have been early experiments in pose and character. 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
Ford M Brown Rome/45
Signature and date bottom right Handwritten 1845 Iron gall ink.


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
8 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 2008-08-27 - 2008-12-14


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. 33
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London pp. 50, 64; repr. p. 23

Associated people

Name Type
King Edward III Associated with

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