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This is a portrait of the daughter of the artist’s landlord at Southend, where Brown stayed in 1846. He had just returned from Europe; at Basel he had admired the portraits of Holbein and in Rome he studied the Italian Renaissance and the German Nazarene painters. This experience is reflected in the frontal pose, even light and clear shadowless modelling of the figure. At a time when child portraiture tended to the sweet and sentimental, Brown painted the little girl with remarkable naturalness and directness.

Details

  • Title: Millie Smith
  • Creator: Ford Madox Brown
  • Date Created: 1846
  • tag / style: Pre-Raphaelite; Ford Madox Brown; Millie Smith;; rose; portrait; flowers; child; girl; dress
  • Physical Dimensions: w1750 x h2290 cm
  • Artist biographical information: Ford Madox Brown sympathised closely with the new Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in 1848, which paralleled his own ideas, though he was never a member. At first an adviser, at least to Rossetti (to whom he provided painting lessons), in turn he was influenced by them. While at first well received, his work gained little public recognition in the 1850s and the influential Ruskin was antagonistic. In 1853 he married Emma Hill who appears in his two greatest paintings ‘The Last of England’, now in Birmingham Art Gallery, and ‘Work’, now in Manchester Art Gallery. In 1861 he was a founder-member of the decorating firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company, for which he designed some furniture and many stained-glass cartoons, until its re-arrangement as Morris and Co. in 1875. These were influential on his later manner which saw a return to his earlier historical approach combined with a looser, more decorative style.
  • Additional artwork information: To learn more about the Walker Art Gallery’s Pre-Raphaelite paintings, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/room-guide/room-six.aspx
  • Type: Oil on paper laid on panel
  • Rights: Purchased in 1972

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