This is the finished drawing for 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 in the Birmingham collection). 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 the original drawing and sell it later on. He also produced an oil version and two watercolour versions of 'The Entombment.'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. It is the finished drawing from which the engraving was made by T. Bolton.

  • Presented by the Trustees of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 1916.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Ford Madox Brown -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Monogram bottom right Handwritten 1867


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
45 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
Hueffer 1896 Longmans Grenn and Co. p. 221, 232, 247, 262, 417, 419, 422 & 441
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery p. 44
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 59, 67; repr. p. 60

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