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Pencil Drawing - Chaucer at the Court of Edward III - Eight early Studies of Figures and Hands

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1906P766
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1845 - 1845

Maker Information

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


This is one of the earliest sheets of studies for Chaucer at the Court of Edward III (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney) and shows Brown working out various characters and their poses. It was executed in 1845 whilst he was living in Rome. Faint writing on the sheet may be the names and addresses of models he used during his stay in Italy. The main study on the left is for the figure of Edward III. His pose only changes slightly from this early study to that in the final painting. Brown used the same elderly model for the sketches of two courtiers which appear in the painting. The Birmingham collection also holds drapery and head studies relating to these figures (1906P734, 1906P735 and 1906P787). The nude figure in the bottom left hand corner is most likely to be for the jestersitting on the right of the painting. In an early chalk study of the the whole composition (1845, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford) the jester is crouching with his right arm in the same position and holding a staff as indicated in this nude study. The hand studies, the figure of the page slumped over, and the head of a man wearing a crown of leaves do not appear to have been used in the final version and may have been early experiments in pose and character.

Purchased and presented by subscribers, 1906.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Pencil on paper.
Place of Origin:Rome, Italy

Associated People


Height:280 mm
Width:436 mm

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