Mrs. Ford Madox Brown

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1853 May
Model: Emma Hill Madox Brown


◦ Marsh, The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.

◦ Newman and Watkinson, Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Circle.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 158 (no. 272).

◦ Treuherz, Prettejohn, and Becker, DGR, 150 (no. 19).

Scholarly Commentary


Born Emma Matilda Hill (1829?-1890), the daughter of a Gloucestershire farmer, she met Ford Madox Brown in 1848, two years after the death of Brown's first wife. Struck by her beauty, Brown immediately began using her as a model in his work, and they soon fell in love. (She is the model, for example, for Cordelia in Brown's Lear and Cordelia, begun in 1849 and, perhaps most famously, for the young woman in The Last of England, begun in 1852). A sweet entry in Brown's diary for 10 Febrary 1849 notes that as he was painting the veil of Cordelia “a girl as loves me came and disturbed me” (Marsh, 38). She became pregnant by Brown in late 1849, but Brown concealed their relationship for some time and they were not married until April 1853. They had two sons together, Arthur and Oliver, both of whom died. DGR was especially fond of Oliver and wrote memorial verses for the boy in November 1874.

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