Ford Madox Brown
The Coat of Many Colours 1867

Artwork details

Ford Madox Brown 1821–1893
The Coat of Many Colours
Date 1867
Medium Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 305 x 305 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by J.R. Holliday 1931
Not on display

Display caption

This watercolour illustrates the Old Testament story of Joseph and his coat of many colours. His brothers, jealous of the preference shown towards him by their father, have sold Joseph as a slave. Here we see them duping their father into believing that Joseph has been killed, using the blood-stained coat as evidence.

Unlike other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, Brown did not travel to the Near East. However, to give authenticity to the biblical subject matter, he used a watercolour painted by Thomas Seddon in Palestine as inspiration for the background landscape.

September 2004