Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer - major Ford Madox Brown show heads to Manchester Art Gallery

By Stephanie Pomfrett | 31 August 2011
An image of an oil painting of mythical soldiers in a coastal setting
Ford Madox Brown, Design for The Romans Building a Fort at Mancenion, AD80 (Study for Manchester Town Hall Mural) (1879-80/1890). Oil on canvas© Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collection
Exhibition: Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, September 24 2011 – January 29 2012

Without Ford Madox Brown there probably wouldn’t have been a Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and this major new exhibition aims to highlight his contribution to British art.

Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer aims to show how the painter’s revolutionary approach to painting influenced the PRB, as well as the effect of the six years the artist spent in Manchester. It’s the first major exhibition of Brown’s work since 1964 and a testament to both the radical painter and the radical city.

The Pre-Raphaelites are currently undergoing one of their periodic revivals, thanks this time in part to the BBC’s serialisation of Franny Moyle’s Desperate Romantics last year. This year has already seen the V&A’s major The Cult of Beauty (which is now on its way to the Musee D’Orsay in Paris), and Tate Britain is planning a retrospective of the major Pre-Raphaelite paintings next September.

Now it’s the turn of Manchester Art Gallery – with one of the best collections of Pre-Raphaelite art outside of London – to take advantage of their continuing popularity.

The exhibition will showcase 140 of Brown’s works, ranging from his masterpieces Work and The Last of England to sketches and rarely seen murals.

The results showcase the political, radical and social themes in Brown’s work, as well as the artist’s wide-ranging and varied talents. Visitors will also have rare access to the twelve murals Brown painted for the Great Hall in Manchester Town Hall.

  • Open 10am-5pm (except Monday). Admission £8 / £6 concession. Under 18s free.
More pictures from the show:

An image of an oil painting of an infant girl's face
The English Boy (1860). Oil on canvas© Manchester City Galleries
An image of an oil painting of a mother carrying a child in a field while feeding lambs
The Pretty Baa Lambs (1851–59). Oil on panel© Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
An image of an oil painting of two people sitting in coats on a ship at sea
The Last Of England (1852–55). Oil on panel© Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
An image of a drawing of a woman in profile
Emma Hill (Study for King Lear) (1848). Black chalk© Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
An image of a painting of a crowd of people
Geoffrey Chaucer reading the Legend of Custance to Edward III and his court (1868). Oil on canvas© Tate, London 2010
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