Ford Madox Brown'Take your Son, Sir' ?1851-92

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Artwork details

Ford Madox Brown (1821‑1893)
'Take your Son, Sir'
Date ?1851-92
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 705 x 381 mm frame: 874 x 550 x 50 mm
Acquisition Presented by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond in memory of their brother, John S. Sargent 1929
On loan to Palazzo Chiablese (Turin, Italy)

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This enigmatic picture shows the artist's second wife, Emma, and their new-born son. The pose is reminiscent of a traditional Madonna and child but the mother's strained expression suggests that this is not a celebration of marriage and motherhood. The domestic details of the room are indicative of a contemporary-life subject in which this could be a kept woman offering her illegitimate child to its father, the figure reflected in the mirror. Ford Madox Brown began this picture in 1851 and although he worked on it over a number of years it remained unfinished at his death.

July 2007

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