This may be a study for the right hand of one of the poets honoured by Brown in his proposed triptych 'The Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry.' It is difficult to tell if this is a hand study for the figure of Robert Burns (1759-1796) or William Shakespeare (1564-1616) as both have similar right hand positions in the surviving studies for the triptych (1845, black chalk on paper, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford; 1845-1853, oil on canvas, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). It could also be a hand study for the man standing on the right of the Fool in Brown's painting 'Lear and Cordelia' (1848-49, oil on canvas, Tate) which he was also working on in 1848. 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 London 48
Signature and date bottom right Handwritten 1848 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 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p. 33
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 65

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