Lucy Madox Brown as a Child

WAG 10504


This study of Ford Madox Brown's elder daughter, Lucy (1843 - 1894), was drawn on a visit to see her while she was living with her aunt, Helen Bromley, at the latter's school at Gravesend. At this time Brown was living alone in London following his first wife's death. He recorded the visit, which followed a trip first to his wife's grave at Highgate cemetery, in his diary for 4 and 5 December 1847. This is one of five studies drawn between 1847 and 1857 depicting Brown’s four children. They are part of a substantial group of drawings of his children made for personal record and also as studies for future paintings. Lucy was born to his first wife and is shown here aged four. This seems to have been an important drawing for Brown, a focus for the grief he felt at the loss of his wife. In his diary for that day he recorded that he "drew a little head of my beautiful babe. It is today 18 months since the death of my poor wife. These are thoughts that I must banish, it unnerves me. I have dedicated the day to my child and the memory of her mother". The inscription ‘To Cathy’ was added at a later date. Brown made several studies of Lucy as a child which have remained in family ownership. She married William Michael Rossetti, brother of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in 1874, and was herself an artist of some promise, exhibiting chiefly at the Dudley Gallery until her marriage.