This portrait study of Emma was made around Christmas 1852 with Emma continuing to model for The Last of England well into the New Year. Brown records Emma 'at the beginning of /53 ... coming to sit ... in the most inhuman weather from Highgate. This work representing an out door scene without sunlight I painted at it chiefly out of doors when snow was lieing [sic] on the ground' (Virginia Surtees, ed., 'The Diary of Ford Madox Brown,' p. 80).LMWhilst working on the painting in 1853 Brown spent four weeks on 'the madder ribbons of the bonnet' which are depicted being blown by the fierce wind. However, in this early head study of Emma, her ribbons are neatly tied and her hair lacks the windswept strands found in both the cartoon (1906P795) and the painting, suggesting that this study was done purely to capture Emma's likeness, which Brown was intent on portraying faithfully. However, capturing it in paint seems to cause him a considerable amount of trouble, with references in his diary to alterations made because the head appeared to be 'very bad & made [him] miserable' (Virginia Surtees, ed., 'The Diary of Ford Madox Brown,' pp. 129, 134).

A preparatory sketch for the oil painting 'The Last of England'. Brown met Matilda Hill, known as Emma, by 1848. She was the daughter of a bricklayer who had moved to London during the 1830s. Although a child, Catherine, was born in 1850, Emma and Brown did not marry until 1853.

  • 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 Dec 52
Monogram bottom left Handwritten 1852 Chalk.


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Exhibition of British Art c. 1000-1860
1251 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1934-01-06 - 1934-03-10
English Drawings and Engravings
37 Museum Toma Stelian, Bucharest 1935 - 1935
37 Vienna 1936 - 1936
37 Prague 1936 - 1936
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings
42 Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London 1947-09 - 1947-09
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings and Watercolours
6 Cambridge Arts Council Gallery 1953-05-16 - 1953-10-24
6 Norwich Assembly Rooms 1953-05-16 - 1953-10-24
6 Hatton Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne 1953-05-16 - 1953-10-24
British Portraits
738 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1956 - 1957
Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
72 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1964 - 1964
- Midlands Arts Centre 1968 - 1968
British Portraits
- Museum of Art of the Socialist Republic of Romania 1972 - 1972
- Hungary 1972 - 1973
The Pre-Raphaelites
179 Tate Gallery, London 1984-03 - 1984
Pre-Raphaelite Women
4 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1985-10-09 - 1986-01-02
4 Stoke-on-Trent Museum and Art Gallery 1986-09-13 - 1986-10-19
Sacred Bond: images of motherhood
- Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1990-09-22 - 1990-11-18
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, EnglandVisions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
21 Seattle Art Museum 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
21 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
21 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
21 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
21 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-04-10
21 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1996-05-26 - 1996-09-29
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
29 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 2008-08-27 - 2008-12-14


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Ford Madox Brown: A Record of his Life and Works
F M Hueffer 1896 Longmans, Green and Co., London repr. p. 447 et seq
Twelve English Pre-Raphaelite Drawings
Unknown 1925 Methuen & Company, London pl. 3
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery p. 42
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings
1947 Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London p. 11
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings and Watercolours
1953 Arts Council of Great Britain, London p. 6
Pre-Raphaelite Portraits
Andrea Rose 1981 The Oxford Illustrated Press, Oxford p. 21; repr. p. 21
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 55, 67; repr. p. 18
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Angela Thirlwell 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 12

Associated people

Name Type
Emma Madox Brown Depicted

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