This is a drapery study for Brown's proposed triptych 'The Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry.' The central panel of the triptych was a depiction of Chaucer reading to Edward III and his court. This was flanked by two wings filled with the figures of great English poets. A small oil study for the triptych is now at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He began studies for the painting whilst in Rome in 1845. However, he subsequently realised the project was too big and abandoned the wings. The central panel became 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). This drawing is for the figure of John Milton (1608-1674)who was one of the poets in the left wing of the triptych. In old age Milton went blind and Brown depicts him at this stage of his life holding a stick to feel his way forward.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
M Brown London/47
Signature and date bottom left Handwritten 1847 'Ford' or 'F' cut off.. 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 & Art Gallery p. 32
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 64

Associated people

Name Type
John Milton 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