Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ford Madox Brown - May Memories

Signed with monogram and dated 69-84
Oil on canvas

Ford Madox Brown began this painting of his second wife, Emma, at his house in Fitzroy Square, London in 1869, retouching and finally working it up for sale in Manchester in May 1884. The year 1870 began as one of some depression does, and held on its course rather languidly. No pictures new in subject were commenced, but designs for pictures, subsequently executed, had their origin in the already referred to illustrations of Moxon's 'Byron'. The early part of the year was occupied by the painting of a fancy portrait' of Mrs Madax Brown, May Memories, of a lady of sumptuous charms sitting amongst a wealth of may-blossoms, meditating on the glories of her may-days in the 'temps jadis'. This picture was, however, not finished until long subsequently. [Hueffer, 255]
... During the early part of the year following [1884] the exigencies of his pocket and the prospect of possible sales caused Madox Brown to recur to his old device of retouching and finishing up old pictures, a kind of work that the months of April and May were devoted. The works treated in this way were the pictures of the Traveller, an oil replica of that work of sixteen years' standing, and the portrait of Mrs Madox Brown, called May Memories. [Hueffer, 366]

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