These drawings have in the past been identified as studies for the painting 'The Coat of Many Colours' but are in fact for the illustration 'Joseph's Coat' from 'Dalziels' Bible Gallery.' This sheet gives an insight into how Brown worked. On the right is an early compositional sketch drawn with loose lines and little detail. It already contains the major elements of the composition, notably Jacob on a raised platform with his granddaughter, the dog in the centre, and four of Joseph's brothers standing around his blood stained coat of many colours. Brown has boxed in the sketch and uses the spare paper to focus the figure of Jacob's granddaughter whose pose appears to have troubled him. The sheet contains three nude sketches of this child in various positions, and one of the model in costume, in the pose of the middle nude. This is the pose taken up in the finished illustration. At the top right of the paper there is also a small sketch of the front wheel of a tricycle-like object which does not appear to be related to the composition but may be one of Brown's inventions. Although this sheet of drawings appears to be dated 1865, this might be a case of Brown mistakenly backdating his work as the design was certainly begun by 1864 if not before. Jane Butler suggests it may be a study for an illustration to Charles Wells drama 'Joseph and his Brethern' (1824), which D. G. Rossetti was keen to have published in the 1850s (Jane Butler 'A Pre-Raphaelite Shibboleth: Joseph,' The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, p. 82). 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
FMB 1855
Signature and date bottom left Handwritten 1855 In pencil


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
87 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1964 - 1964
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
43 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. 43
Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
Mary Bennett 1964 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool p. 34
The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, vol. III, no. I
Jane Butler November 1982 - p. 82; repr. between pp. 81 & 82
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London pp. 59, 66; repr. p. 41

Associated people

Name Type
Thomas Dalziel Commissioned by
Edward Dalziel Commissioned by

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