'Windermere', 1855

Ford Madox Brown (1821 – 93)

Oil on Canvas, 17.5cm x 49.2cm

Accession Number LL3638

'Windermere', Ford Madox Brown

In March 1848, Madox Brown first met Rossetti and came into contact with nascent Pre-Raphaelite ideas. In September of the same year, he visited the Lake District and his diary records that he spent four hours a day for six days labouring on this small canvas. Two versions of this picture were painted, both based upon this first study. Madox Brown completed and signed this study seven years later in 1855.

The view is from the north end of Lake Windermere, looking south. As yet, Madox Brown is more concerned with the broader treatment of light in out-of-doors painting, rather than bright colour, and the composition with balanced left and right trees, middle-ground water and centralised distant mountain is traditional.

In 1855, the sky was cut down and the slip frame designed which transforms it into an oval picture, concentrating the image in the same way he had employed oval or round shapes in his major 1850s paintings.