Ford Madox BrownLear and Cordelia 1849-54

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Artwork details

Artist
Ford Madox Brown (1821‑1893)
Title
Lear and Cordelia
Date 1849-54
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 711 x 991 mm frame: 995 x 1270 x 80 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and subscribers 1916
Reference
N03065
On loan to Palazzo Chiablese (Turin, Italy)

Summary

This is the first of three paintings by Brown that illustrate scenes from Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear. All three pictures are based on a series of pen and ink sketches produced during a trip to Paris in 1843-4. On 2 May 1848 Brown saw William Charles Macready (1793-1873) in a production of the play, and began work on this picture in November of the same year.

The painting illustrates Act IV, Scene vii from the play. The location is Cordelia's tent in the French camp at Dover. Lear is asleep, his thinning hair straggling across the pillow, his hands still clutching a set of keys. The physician on the left raises his baton and commands the musicians to play more loudly… (read more)

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