This is one of two works in the collection based on the eighteenth century novel 'A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy By Mr Yorick,' by Laurence Sterne (1713-1768). Between them the two drawings illustrate the chapters concerning the popular character Maria Moulines. The first drawing depicts Maria's mother talking to the protagonist, Yorick, and his manservant La Fleur. She has moved La Fleur to tears by telling the two men of the sad plight of her daughter, Maria, who has taken to wandering aimlessly after the death of her father. The second more finished watercolour depicts the following scene in which Yorick has found Maria and together they towards the town of Moulines. On the reverse of this drawing is an important sheet of early sketches for the central figures in the cartoon 'The Body of Harold Brought before William the Conqueror,' now in Manchester Art Gallery. This was one of Brown's first two entries to the 1844 competition to design frescoes to decorate the House of Parliament (the other Adam and Eve is now lost). The figures show a variety of poses and suggests that Brown was trying out different compositions for the painting. The sketch at the top left of the page, including both William and Harold, became the main group of figures in the final composition. Brown also retained the two figures on horseback, on the left, in the final design. Few of the other figure groupings were used in the cartoon however it appears Brown thought seriously about including some of them as the Whitworth Art Gallery has a bigger pen and ink sketch depicting the figure supported by soldiers and a monk. LM

In 1844, Brown submitted a large-scale cartoon, for which these are studies, in the competition for fresco decoration of the new Houses of Parliament. He later worked up an oil sketch into a finished painting.

  • 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 Paris/42
Signature and date bottom right Handwritten 1842 Brown ink.
- reverse - - Several rough sketches of figure subjects in pencil and pen and ink.


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Exhibition of the Works of Ford Madox Brown
180 Grafton Galleries, London 1897 - 1897
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
4 Seattle Art Museum 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
4 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
4 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
4 The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
4 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-04-10
4 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1996-05-26 - 1996-09-29


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Exhibition of the Works of Ford Madox Brown
1897 Grafton Galleries, London p. 47
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p.48
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
Stephen Wildman 1995 Art Services International p. 78
Men at Work: Art and Labour in Victorian Britain
2005 Yale University Press, New Haven and London pp. 42-43 & 48-49
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London -

Associated people

Name Type
King William I Depicted
King Harold II Depicted
Laurence Sterne Associated with

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