'The Germ' was a monthly magazine which ran for just four issues from January to April 1850. The last two issues were retitled 'Art and Poetry being Thoughts towards Nature conducted principally by Artists'. The magazine contained essays, reviews and poetry by members and associates of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB). This is the third volume from the facsimilie edition of 1901 which is accompanied by its own box.Each issue featured an etching by a member of the PRB or an associated artist. The third volume included a fold out etching by Ford Madox Brown depicting a scene from Shakespeare's 'King Lear.' William Michael Rossetti wrote the poem 'Cordelia' to accompany the illustration. The etching was based on the earlier drawing 'Cordelia parting from her Sisters,' one of a series of drawings of 'King Lear' Brown made in Paris in 1844 (now at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester). For the etching Brown made some alterations to the original composition. He moved the figure of the fool from the background and depicted him writhing around Lear's deserted throne. He also altered the background so that Lear and his retinue walked up stairs into the open rather than down a long corridor. His diary records the long hours spent on the work in the last week of March, when in just two days he worked twenty-one hours on the etching. Later on Brown noted that he produced a 'painted scetch of Cordelia from the Etching in the Germ' in 1853. He subsequently sold it to the dealer D. T. White for £10 although he had hoped to send it to the Royal Academy (Virginia Surtees, ed. 'The Diary of Ford Madox Brown,' pp. 71, 82 and 131).LM

  • Accessioned, 1979.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
After a design by Ford Madox Brown -
Publisher - Dickinson & Co
Publisher - Aylott & Jones
Printer G F Tupper -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
- 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 pp. 74, 98
The Diary of Ford Madox Brown
Virginia Surtees 1981 Yale University Press, New Haven, for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art pp. 71, 80
Pocket Cathedrals: Pre-Raphaelite Book Illustration
Susan P Casteras 1991 Yale Center for British Art, New Haven pp. 43, 47, 104; repr. p. 48
Pre-Raphaelite Prints
Rodney Engen 1995 Lund Humphries, London p. 12 ff.; repr. p. 12
Victorian Illustration: the Pre-Raphaelites, the Idyllic School and the High Victorians
Paul Goldman 1996 Scolar Press, Aldershot pp. 9, 274, 370, repr. 37
The British Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators
Gregory Suriano 2005 Oak Knell Press, Newcastle, USA and the British Library, London, UK pp. 35, 63, 306; repr. p. 63
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch, Tessa Sidey 2008 D. Giles Limited, London pp. 33, 54, 67; repr. p. 11
Ford Madox Brown: The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite
Laura MacCulloch 2008 D. Giles Limited, London p. 33

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