Friday, November 4, 2011
Ford Madox Brown - Self Portrait, bust-length, in a brown coat
inscribed by William Michael Rossetti 'By Ford Madox Brown/Himself/c.1845/Given by him to Lucy +/me c.1880' (on a label on the reverse)
oil on board
8 x 6 in. (20.3 x 15.2 cm.)
Given by the artist to Helen Bromley, his sister-in-law.
On her death in 1886 returned to the artist, who gave it to his elder daughter, Lucy, and her husband, William Michael Rossetti. Thence by descent in their family.
The artist's account book (Violet Hunt Papers, Cornell University).
he portrait dates from about 1844, when the artist was in his early twenties. It was painted for his first wife, Elizabeth Bromley, whom he had married in 1841, and on her death in 1846 was given to Helen Bromley, the widow of Elizabeth's brother Augustus. When Helen died in 1886, it returned to the artist, who gave it to his elder daughter, Lucy, and her husband, William Michael Rossetti.
In her recent catalogue raisonné of Brown's work, Mary Bennett suggests a connection with the artist's likeness of himself in one of his most famous paintings, The Last of England (Bennett, vol. 1, p. 174).