Monday, April 19, 2010

Ford Madox Brown - Emma Hill: study for "The Last of England"

Black chalk, with wash

One of the most direct and appealing of all Pre-Raphaelite portrait drawings, this study of Brown's future wife is a notable result of the artist's hard work on 'The Last of England' in the winter of 1852.

Brown had met Matilda Hill (always known as Emma) by Christmas 1848. She was then nineteen, the daughter of a poor farmer who had migrated to London during the agricultural depression of the 1830s.

William Rossetti recalled her having "a pink complexion, regular features, and a fine abundance of beautiful yellow hair, the tint of harvest corn".

Although a daughter, Catherine, was born in November 1850, Emma andBrown did not marry until 1853.

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