This interesting page from one of Brown's notebooks reveals much about how he approached his paintings and his desire to be historically accurate in his work. On both sides are sketches for the figure of Alfred the Great (see B82 and B83). On the reverse he has written a list of key historical figures from the medieval period and important dates relating to them over the top of his earlier sketches of Alfred the Great. These notes were most likely to have been made as Brown began working on Chaucer at the Court of Edward III and needed to check that all the figures he wanted to include were all alive at the same time. They may have been jotted down when he undertook research at the British Museum or as his diary suggests when he was in Rome and had access to the library of the English Academy. There he recorded that he was able to procure 'the works and life of our first poet and fortunately ... found that the facts known respecting him perfectly admitted of the idea [he] had already conceived of the subject to wit, Chaucer reading his poƫms [sic] to Edward the 3rd & his court bringing in other noted characters such as the black prince etc' (Virginia Surtees, ed., 'The Diary of Ford Madox Brown,' pp. 1-2).LM

  • Accessioned, 1978.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Ford Madox Brown -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Edward III Born in 1312 / Chaucer born in 1328 / Black Prince in 1330 / English Language / becomes legal in 1362 / Wicliffe Translated the / Bible in} 1377 / Order of the Garter 1349 / Wicliffe Preaches reform [underlined] 1362 / Black Prince Died in 1376 / Edward the IIIrd died in 1377 / King John Prisoner / in London from 1357 / till - 1360 / Came back & died 1364 / Black Prince Married 1365 / Richard born to him in 1367 / Queen Phillipa died in 1359 / Black Prince returned in / [John] of Gaunt also. 1372 / -
Notes reverse Handwritten - Brown ink.


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


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London pp. 49-50, 64; repr.43

Associated people

Name Type
Alfred the Great Depicted

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