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Chalk Drawing - Chaucer at the Court of Edward III - Drapery Study for Shakespeare

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1906P707
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1847 - 1847

Maker Information

Artist:Ford Madox Brown - View biography for Ford Madox Brown


This is a drapery study for Brown's discarded triptych 'The Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry.' The central panel of the triptych was a depiction of Chaucer reading to Edward III and his court. This was flanked by two wings filled with the figures of great English poets. He began studies for the painting whilst in Rome with his wife Elizabeth who was terminally ill with tuberculosis. However, after her death and on his return to England Brown realised the project was too big and abandoned the wings. The central panel became 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, Art Gallery of South Wales, Sydney). A smaller oil study for the triptych is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This drawing is for the figure of Shakespeare who was one of the poets in the left wing of the triptych. He holds the masks of tragedy and comedy, symbolising his work as a playwright.

Purchased and presented by subscribers, 1906.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Black chalk on paper.

Associated People


Height:350 mm
Width:170 mm