Ford Madox Brown

‘Take your Son, Sir’


Not on display

Ford Madox Brown 1821–1893
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 705 × 381 mm
frame: 874 × 550 × 50 mm
Presented by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond in memory of their brother, John S. Sargent 1929

Display caption

This enigmatic picture shows the artist’s second wife, Emma, and their new-born son, Arthur Gabriel. The pose is reminiscent of a traditional Madonna and child but the mother’s strained expression suggests that this is not a conventional celebration of marriage and motherhood. The domestic details of the room are indicative of a contemporary-life subject in which the woman holds out the baby to her husband reflected in the mirror. Ford Madox Brown began the composition in 1851 and, although he worked on it over a number of years, abandoned it following the death of Arthur in 1857.

Gallery label, November 2016

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