These are early sketches for two central characters in the painting 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). The woman in the drawing on the left is for the figure of Alice Perrers, Edward III's unpopular mistress who is reported to have stripped him of his jewellery as he lay dying. In the final painting she can be seen holding an ostentatious feather fan. Her pose in this outline is closer to that of the figure in a chalk study at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Beford, in which she is looking up at Edward III and pointing at Chaucer with a closed fan. The woman on the right is a study for Joan, 'The Fair Maid of Kent,' wife of the Black Prince. Her pose differs from that in early compositional studies but matches that in the final painting where she can be seen with her head in profile to the left, as in this outline, and holding onto her husband's elbow as Brown has faintly indicated here. Brown's second wife Emma posed for this figure when he completed it in 1851. In the painting 'The Fair Maid of Kent' wears a crown as opposed to the simple band worn by the figure in the study. Brown may have made several outlines in one session as the same hair band, dress and model appear in several outlines at BMAG (1906P769 and 1906P774).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 /47
Signature and date bottom right Handwritten 1847 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 City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery p. 34
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 65

Associated people

Name Type
Joan the Fair Maid of Kent Associated with
Alice Perrers Associated with

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