This is one of three illustrations by Brown for 'Lyra Germanica - the Christian Life,' an anthology of hymns translated from German by Catherine Winkworth and published in 1868 (see also 1912P42). The scene depicts Christ's entombment with his shrouded body being carried by St. John the Evangelist and Nicodemus. St Joseph of Arimathea, St. Mary Altera and the Virgin Mary stand behind them whilst Mary Magdalene kneels in the bottom left corner. The original design for The Entombment was used in one of the lights in the chancel window of Gatcombe Church on the Isle of Wight. The window was a Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. commission. It depicted scenes from the life of Christ and other partners in the firm designed the remaining lights. The cartoon was not mentioned in the extracts of Brown's accounts published by Hueffer but the date of the window is confirmed by Warrington Taylor's list of places with windows made by the company between 1863 and 1868 (a copy of this is among the Morris and Co. papers at BMAG). The illustration is almost the same as the stained glass design with the inclusion of the names of the figures present within the nimbuses. The design was engraved by Thomas Bolton (fl. 1851-93), the first engraver to use photography to transfer designs onto the boxwood blocks used in book illustration in the mid-nineteenth century. The first book produced using this new method of wood engraving was the first volume of Lyra Germanica published in 1861 (Paul Golman, Victorian Illustrated Books: 1850-1870, p. 42). This new application of technology suited Brown because rather than having to draw directly onto the block, and therefore lose his design during the engraving process, he was able to keep them and sell them later. No doubt this was the motivation for making the detailed pen and ink drawing of The Entombment (1916P27). LM

This is one of three illustrations for 'Lyra Germanica - the Christian Life,' an anthology of hymns translated from German by Catherine Winkworth and published in 1868. Birmingham's collection also has the original pen and ink drawing for this illustration.

  • Presented by Charles Fairfax Murray, 1912.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
After a design by Ford Madox Brown -
Engraver Thomas Bolton -
- - Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
FMB / T. Bolton Sc
Monogram bottom right Engraved 1868


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
46 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 2008-08-27 - 2008-12-14


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Lyra Germanica - the Christian Life
Catherine Winkworth 1868 Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London p. 38
The Victorian Woodblock Illustrators
Eric de Maré 1980 Gordon Fraser, London p.113
The Pre-Raphaelites
Leslie Parris - Tate, London p. 215
Pocket Cathedrals: Pre-Raphaelite Book Illustration
Susan P Casteras 1991 Yale Center for British Art, New Haven p. 104; repr. p. 15
Victorian Illustration: the Pre-Raphaelites, the Idyllic School and the High Victorians
Paul Goldman 1996 Scolar Press, Aldershot 1996 pp. 9-10, 365
The British Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators
Gregory Suriano 2005 Oak Knell Press and the British Library, Newcastle, USA, and London, UK 2005 pp.64, 306; repr. p. 66
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited pp. 36, 46, 67; repr. p. 60
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 36

Associated people

Name Type
Cathrerine Winkworth Author

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