Brown, Ford Madox
(18211893), painter and designer
, was born at Calais, France, on 16 April 1821, the son of Ford Brown (d
. 1842) and his wife, Caroline (d
. 1839), the daughter of Tristram Maries Madox, of an old Kent yeoman family. Ford Madox Brown's unorthodox and anti-establishment leanings were prefigured by those of his grandfather John Brown (bap
. 1735, d
. 1788), the son of a Scottish labourer, whose career as an innovative medical doctor was marked by hostility to social superiors and professional peers. The doctor's second son, Ford Brown (named after Dr Ford, a favourite pupil), at one time purser on the Arethusa
, retired after the Napoleonic wars. Financial stringencies forced Ford and Caroline Brown to seek inexpensive lodgings in Calais, and it was these reduced circumstances which marked Ford Madox Brown's boyhood.
Education and early career
Frequent travel between France and Britain dominated a childhood in which Brown acquired only a patchy education. A juvenile talent for drawing was nurtured through copying a hanging of Pizarro's Conquest of Peru
in the hôtel garni
where his parents lived; an Italian drawing-master, engaged when he was seven, set him copying prints by Raphael, Correggio, and Bartolozzi. Despite initial misgivings, and an unsuccessful attempt to place his son in the navy, Brown's father moved the family to Bruges in 1835 in order to facilitate the already accomplished youngster's artistic education. At the age of fourteen he began his studies under Aelbert Gregorius, a student of David, at the Bruges Academy; a year later, in 1836, he transferred to the academy at Ghent, where he studied under another pupil of David, Pierre Van Hanselaer. These early masters offered Brown a rather hard-edged neo-classicism with which he never seems to have been entirely at ease. At this time Brown began to sell paintings, mainly portraits and small genre scenes; the finest surviving work from this period is an accomplished portrait of his father, a querulous figure with a shock of white hair (c
.1837; Tate collection). A move to Antwerp in 1837 to study at the academy with Gustaf, Baron Wappers, was decisive for Brown's artistic development. His parents returned to London, allowing Brown to enjoy a bohemian lifestyle at the Pot d'Etain lodging house, where he struck up a friendship with the Irish artist Daniel Casey. Brown acquired from Wappers a technical accomplishment and intellectual rigour far in advance of that available to his contemporaries at the Royal Academy Schools in London. Wappers's Rubensian painterliness affected Brown less than his belief that history painting should engage with contemporary moral and political issues. The death of his mother on 2 September 1839 left Brown and his sister an annuity allowing him to continue his work at the Antwerp Academy.
In 1840 Brown's painting from Byron The Giaour's Confession
(destroyed), begun at Antwerp, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London; next he embarked upon a major history painting, The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots
(small version, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester), completed in March. Containing passages of fine naturalism but also several rather histrionic figures, it indicates a considerable but as yet immature talent. His cousin Elisabeth Bromley (1818/191846), the daughter of his mother's sister Mary, who in 1840 joined the Brown family in Antwerp after finishing school in Germany, modelled for the swooning attendant in The Execution
. They grieved together for Brown's sister Eliza, known as Lyly, who died suddenly in June 1840. Nineteen and doubly bereaved, Brown fell in love with Elisabeth, his kindly, sophisticated, somewhat older cousin, and on 3 April 1841 they were married at her home parish church in Meopham, Kent. Standing at the altar, slight (at 5 feet 7 inches), with flowing light brown hair, Brown looked so young that the vicar asked where the bridegroom might be.
The summer of 1841 saw the couple take lodgings in Montmartre, accompanied by Brown's invalid father. Like his friend Casey, Brown went to Paris in the hope of benefiting from the French state's lavish patronage of the arts. Elisabeth, genteel and elegant, cut an impressive figure in Paris, and he long recalled this period as an idyll of domestic happiness. The first of three subjects from Byron painted at this time, Manfred on the Jungfrau
(184041; Manchester City Galleries), though melodramatic in composition, reflects a new interest in natural lighting. Personal tragedy intervened when the death of his father in the summer of 1842 was followed by that in November of Brown's own first child. Emma Lucy [see
], their only surviving child, was born in July 1843.
In 1843 the announcement of an annual competition to select designs for frescoes to decorate the new palace of Westminster indicated a rare source of patronage for history painting in England. In 1844 Brown submitted a large cartoon of The Body of Harold Brought before William
, which survives in fragments (Camberwell College of Art). Its sardonic portrayal of the Normanspossibly intended as a critique of the aristocracymay have offended the jury; a more likely cause for its failure, however, was its refusal to conform to pictorial orthodoxy, essaying instead an exaggerated Michelangelesque style similar to that of the German painter Peter Cornelius. Another competition, seeking an altarpiece for St James's Church in Bermondsey, south London, heightened Brown's enthusiasm for public art. His opulently coloured study The Ascension
(1844; Forbes Magazine Collection, New York) was also unsuccessful. The prospect of further competitions brought Brown back to England; after spending the summer of 1844 with family in Kent, where his wife remained, in November Brown settled in at Charles Lucy's studios at Tudor Lodge, London. By the next summer he had completed a boldly drawn cartoon of The Abstract Spirit of Justice
(surviving study of 1845; Manchester City Galleries), which once more was unsuccessful in the Westminster competition.
In 1845 Brown and Elisabeth travelled to Rome in search of a cure for her failing health. On the journey Brown was impressed by the Holbeins at Basel, and in Rome he admired not only the Renaissance masters but also contemporary work by the German Nazarenes. Possibly on the advice of his friend William Cave Thomas, he sought out Johann Friedrich Overbeck and Peter Cornelius, who became key influences in his subsequent works such as Wycliffe
(18478; Cartwright Hall, Bradford), which appeared at the Free exhibition of 1848. Elisabeth grew weaker on the trip and died of consumption on the return journey, at Paris on 5 June 1846; she was buried at Highgate cemetery. After a period of grief Brown was able to return to a triptych he had begun in Rome, originally intended for the Westminster competitions, Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry
(small version, 184553; AM Oxf.). Only the large central panel was completed, as Chaucer at the Court of Edward III
(184651; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney), an elaborate multi-figure composition which was displayed at the Royal Academy six years after its conception in 1851.
Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
In the intervening period Brown had met and befriended the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, among whom the main figures, several years his junior, were discontented students of the Royal Academy Schools. Dante Gabriel Rossetti approached Brown for lessons in 1848, in a letter whose extravagance the touchy Brown took as satirical, setting off with a stout stick (Watkinson and Newman, 39) to rebuke the perpetrator. Although only briefly a pupil, Rossetti became a lifelong friend, and his early works markedly show Brown's influence. Although Brown did not become a member of the brotherhood (accounts differ as to whether he was ever asked to join), he published in the Pre-Raphaelite journal, The Germ
, in 1850, and adopted the brilliant palette and intense realism pioneered by William Holman Hunt, whom he greatly admired, and John Everett Millais. He had reworked Chaucer
in this vein by 1851; it was followed by Jesus Washes Peter's Feet
.18511856; Tate collection), a history painting in which passages of striking realism, painted in the Pre-Raphaelites' wet-in-white technique, inflect a conventionally heroic composition. As with much of Brown's output, his practice of retouching works later in his career makes the precise dating of this painting difficult.
From 1848 onwards one of Brown's most frequent models was Emma Hill (18291890). She soon became Brown's mistress, and in 1848 she moved with him to 17 Newman Street, London, close to Rossetti's studio, though the relationship remained a secret from all but his closest friends. The social distance separating the two was great. Emma, who was born Matilda, was a daughter of Thomas Hill, a bricklayer: illiterate, she sometimes worked as a domestic servant. In November 1850 Emma gave birth to a daughter, Catherine Emily, and in June 1851 the family moved to Stockwell in south London. Nearby, on Clapham Common, Brown painted The Pretty Baa-Lambs
(1851; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery), with his wife and child modelling for the central figures; lambs and sheep were brought each morning in a truck, and, in an advance on previous Pre-Raphaelite practice, the entire work was painted outside. It is a brilliant exercise in Pre-Raphaelite realism which represents a sunlit landscape with glowing colour and precision.
During 1852 Brown lived in Hampstead, while Emma and her daughter moved from lodgings in Hendon to Highgate. By this time Brown had taught Emma to read and write, and she seems to have attended a school for young ladies to acquire the accomplishments necessary for a middle-class wife of the period. They were married at St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, on 5 April 1853, in the presence only of Rossetti and another artist friend, Thomas Seddon. Only gradually was Emma introduced to the wider circle of Brown's acquaintance. Her features, however, may be seen in his works of the period, many of which dwell on domestic themes verging on the autobiographical: in the striking Take your Son, Sir!
(1851, retouched 18567; Tate collection) a new-born child is handed from mother to a father seen reflected in a convex mirror, based on Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage
(1434; National Gallery, London). In An English Fireside of 18545
(18515; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) Emma cradles an infant on her knee in the glow of a fire.
Three works conceived by Brown in 1852 and slowly completed in later years stand among the most brilliant achievements of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, carrying its realist tenets to the limits. Brown's life at this time, illuminated by the survival of his diary, was marked by intense periods of depression; his work failed to sell and he declared himself to be intensely miserable very hard up & a little mad (Diary
, 78). There is an autobiographical element to The Last of England
(18525; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery), which memorializes the period of emigration to the colonies in the years before the Crimean War. Based on the departure for Australia in 1852 of the Pre-Raphaelite brother Thomas Woolner, the anxious couple seen leaving from Dover bear the features of Ford and Emma Brown themselves. At his most desperate, Brown had himself considered leaving for India. The composition is a tondo recalling Renaissance images of the holy family. As Sidney Colvin noted in 1870, in The Last of England
the most rigid minuteness of photographic detail is combined with the utmost pregnancy of associated suggestion (Colvin, 85). Brown recorded that the madder ribbons of the bonnet took me 4 weeks to paint (Diary
, 80). Sittings took place in the garden of 33 High Street, Hampstead, in which Brown's painting room stood above the china shop of a Mrs Coates. From the rear of the house could be seen the panoramic vista he recorded in An English Autumn Afternoon
(18525; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery), an oval painting providing a literal transcript (An Exhibition of Work
) of the quotidian north London landscape observed with extraordinary intensity. A disagreement in 1855 about the merits of this painting with John Ruskin, for whom it depicted such a very ugly subject (Diary
, 144), came at the culmination of a long antagonism. This lost Brown any chance of support from the most influential Victorian art critic. Landscape paintings from nature form a small but significant element in Brown's output. As well as early efforts at naturalism, such as Windermere
(1848; Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight), he completed in the 1850s several small landscapes which record with striking fidelity his experience of the countryside near Hendon, where Emma lived for a while in 1852 (for example, Carrying Corn
, 18545; Tate collection).
Brown found solace from his psychological torments in periods of extended and visionary labour, devoted mainly to a painting entitled Work
(Manchester City Galleries), also begun in Hampstead in 1852 but completed only in 1863. This most complex and sophisticated British modern-life painting of the nineteenth century includes portraits of two intellectuals, the Revd F. D. Maurice and Thomas Carlyle, with whose ideas the artist was deeply engaged. He taught a class of artisans at the working men's college, founded by Maurice, from 1858 to 1860 with great success, and Work
makes many references to Carlyle's texts, such as Past and Present
(1843). Although Work
ostensibly records an everyday scene in which navvies are installing a new water main in Heath Street, Hampstead, its numerous dramatis personae, subtle social analysis, and elaborate visual language required an extensive written explanation in the catalogue of Brown's solo exhibition in London in 1865. The image has spawned numerous subsequent interpretations, for example, Boime (1981) and Curtis (1992). Critical of the idle, rich and poor, it lauds the manual labourer in the pride of manly health and beauty (An Exhibition of Work
), while acknowledging the influence of intellectual work. A perceptive critic of the day noted that the fantastic elaboration of the painting itself may be admitted as one accepted example of the dignity of labour (The Builder
, 18 March 1865). Brown failed to persuade the dealer Ernest Gambart to commission an engraving of Work
, preventing the hoped-for spreading of its gospel into homes and institutions across the country.
Brown was never financially successful, but in the late 1850s he found a number of patrons in the north of England. Thomas E. Plint, an evangelical stockbroker from Leeds, commissioned Brown to bring the canvas of Work
to completion, demanding some changes in the composition, but died before it was finished. George Rae of Birkenhead, John Miller of Liverpool, and James Leathart, a Newcastle lead manufacturer, also commissioned and purchased works by Brown. In the late 1850s, angered by the refusal of some of his works and the poor hanging of others, Brown abandoned the Royal Academy and rebuffed Millais's offer to support his candidacy for associate membership. He continued, however, to exhibit in Liverpool, where he won £50 prizes in 1856 and 1858. Brown himself organized a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at Russell Place in 1857, and his work featured in a similar show in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston that same year. Brown's enthusiasm for the art of William Hogarthlike himself, fiercely independent and committed to the representation of modern lifeled directly to the founding in 1858 of the Hogarth Club. Intended as an alternative to the Royal Academy, it was an exhibiting forum where artists and patrons could meet informally. Key figures in the club were Rossetti and two young followers of his who first met Brown in 1856. They were William Morris, who immediately purchased Brown's The Hayfield
(18556; Tate collection), and Edward Burne-Jones, for whom Brown was wisest and kindest of friends (Watkinson and Newman, 115). The club began well, with a membership of thirty-eight in 1858, rising to eighty-eight in 1860. It attracted established academicians as well as aspirants such as Frederic Leighton, but collapsed amid controversy in 1861.
Brown's sudden resignation from the Hogarth Club, another example of his notable touchiness, came when the hanging committee refused to include his designs for furniture in the 1860 exhibition. Brown was foreshadowing the move towards greater integration of fine and decorative arts, which characterized the aesthetic movement of the later 1860s, pioneered by Morris. From 1855 to 1865 Brown lived at 13 Fortess Terrace in Kentish Townthe outlook is recorded in Hampstead from my Window
(1857; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington)and designed new tables and chairs for his home. By the 1860s he had become an accomplished designer of both furniture and stained glass. A partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkener & Co. from its foundation in 1861, Brown contributed many designs for production by the firm. Among them were the Egyptian Chair
(1860s; V&A) and an impressively simple and workmanlike set of bedroom furniture, made for Morris himself, which, indebted to earlier work by Pugin, prefigured the arts and crafts style of the 1880s and 1890s. For the firm he made almost 130 subject and single-figure designs for stained glass, retaining copyright of the images for their reuse in paintings. Often, however, his vigorous designs presented insuperable technical problems for the glass makers. He transferred many of his designs from one medium to another: King René's Honeymoon
began as a design for a painted wooden chest by J. P. Seddon (18612; V&A), but emerged also as a stained-glass window, and as a watercolour (1864; Tate collection). The dissolution of the firm in 1874 and its reconfiguration as Morris & Co. caused Brown to feel considerable bitterness, and he severed all connections with Morris for some time. In 1890 Brown contributed to the arts and crafts exhibition, where he was accorded some recognition as a pioneer, only to grumble at the risk of being mistaken for an upholsterer and decorator (Bendiner, 79). He also designed elaborate carved and gilded picture frames for his works. Brown's explorations of another medium, wood-engraved book illustration, demonstrate similar flair: his designs for Dalziel's Bible Gallery
(London, 18634) rival the celebrated contributions of Leighton and Millais. In 1865 Brown mounted an exhibition at 191 Piccadilly, intended as a retrospective of his career to date, with Work
as the climax. He included furniture and designs as well as a substantial proportion of his major works, providing in the accompanying pamphlet an idiosyncratic catalogue raisonné
which remains a keynote for the interpretation of his work. Press notices were favourable, notably William Michael Rossetti's eloquent response in Fraser's Magazine
Despite their own lack of resources, Ford and Emma Brown constantly provided help to people less fortunate than themselves, even opening a soup kitchen during the hard winter of 1860. They repeatedly played host both to the exploitative D. G. Rossetti and to his ailing lover, and from 1860 his wife, Elizabeth Siddal. Domesticity was also disrupted by Emma's frequentperhaps epilepticfits and her alcoholism. Their beloved child Arthur, vividly portrayed in the foreground of Work
, died in infancy in 1857. Both Brown's daughters, Lucy and Cathy, became capable artists under his direction, and his pupil Albert Goodwin began a successful professional career. Further disruption was caused by Brown's passionate but evidently unconsummated desire for his student from 1864 to 1872, the Anglo-Greek painter Marie Spartali (later Stillman). The special destiny of Brown's elder boy, , was already marked out in the regal, Holbeinesque portrait The English Boy
(1860; Manchester City Galleries). Nurturing the talents of Nolly, as he was known, became a major preoccupation of Brown in the later 1860s. Oliver's juvenile precocity in drawing and poetry, some of it published during his short lifetime, convinced Brown that his son was a perfect genius (Hueffer, 238). Oliver's work was exhibited, alongside that of his two sisters, at the Dudley Gallery as early as 1869.
The years about 1870 found Brown for once relatively prosperous and content; his house at Fitzroy Square became the centre of a talented literary and artistic circle. In 18723 he was confident enough to apply, albeit unsuccessfully, for the Slade professorship at Cambridge, claiming that a practising artist, rather than a connoisseur, should hold this post. In 1874, the year in which Brown's daughter Lucy was married to William Michael Rossetti, Oliver died of blood poisoning. This was undoubtedly the greatest catastrophe of Brown's life: he became a virtual recluse and maintained Nolly's room, a shrine containing the boy's books and papers, in each subsequent house he lived in. The wide circle of friends, which had made gatherings at Fitzroy Square glittering occasions, diminished, and once again the spectre of financial hardship haunted the artist. In 1877 Brown painted a self-portrait (Harvard U., Fogg Art Museum) showing his characteristic flowing beard and greying hair parted in the centre: despite the golden lustre of the decorative leather screen which forms the background, the artist's physiognomy speaks of melancholy and resignation.
In his later work Brown abandoned the heightened realism of the 1850s for more dramatic effects; contemporaries noted a certain grotesqueness attaching to his figure compositions. The Death of Sir Tristram
(1864; Birmingham City Art Gallery), originally designed for a stained-glass panel in 1862, features attenuated figures with grimacing features, though the ingenious geometry of the composition allows for a striking display of medieval fabrics. Typical of the emotionalism of this later work is the watercolour The Entombment
(187071; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), richly coloured and marked by a swooping, decorative sense of line. Don Juan Found by Haidée
(187073; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery) exhibits a new sensuousness and perhaps a wish to emulate painters of the nude such as Leighton. However, Cromwell on his Farm
(Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight), completed in 1874 on the basis of a drawing dating back to 1853, presents a Carlylean image of the puritan, Bible
in hand, preoccupied with his higher destiny and ignoring the chaos of everyday life. Teeming with Hogarthian details, this work reverts to both the style and the concerns of the 1850s.
The Manchester painter Frederic Shields and the collector Charles Rowley were largely responsible for gaining Brown the major public commission which had eluded him hitherto. In 1878 he was asked to provide wall paintings for the great hall of Alfred Waterhouse's Gothic town hall in Manchester. The subjects, drawn from the history of Manchester, were selected by a committee (although Brown's own suggestionssuch as the politically charged Peterloo Massacre, 1819
were rejected). Anxious to avoid the technical flaws which had plagued the earlier Westminster frescoes, Brown visited Antwerp in 1875 and 1877 to examine Baron Leys's celebrated works in the medium. For the first seven of the twelve panels he used Thomas Gambier-Parry's spirit fresco technique, but the final five were painted in oils on canvas in the studio, then attached to the wall. Exaggerated posture and gesture characterize this triumphantly inventive though somewhat uneven series of compositions. For much of the period from 1879 to 1887 Brown lived in Manchester, where, in addition to work on the frescoes, his interest in social issues grew. Horrified by the suffering caused by unemployment, he formed a labour bureau in 1886. In addition he employed Joe Waddington, an out-of-work joiner, who made up Brown's design for a workman's chest of drawers, exhibited at the Manchester Jubilee Exhibition of 1887, on the stand of the architect and social reformer Arthur Mackmurdo. Brown also made designs for the massive images of labouring figures which adorned the exhibition building.
Final years and death
On his return to London in 1887 Brown rented 1 St Edmund's Terrace, Primrose Hill, which with Mackmurdo he decorated in the latest aesthetic style. Here, in declining health, he painted the last three of the Manchester wall paintings, completing Bradshaw's Defence of Manchester
(1893; Manchester town hall) just before he died. His granddaughter recalled Brown at work in his last years as an imposing but genial figure with long silver hair parted in the centre, pince-nez, and a blue cloth tam-o'-shanter. The death of his wife on 11 October 1890 troubled him greatly. Brown himself died at his home of podagra (gout) on 6 October 1893 and was buried at St Pancras and Islington cemetery, East Finchley, on 11 October. His obituarists were polite rather than enthusiastic in their appreciation of his œuvre
. A memoir by his grandson Ford Madox Hueffer (later Ford Madox Ford), published in 1896, provides a loyal family portrait. A major retrospective exhibition in Liverpool in 1964 rescued his work from neglect; later, the Tate Gallery's revelatory exhibition The Pre-Raphaelites of 1984 rightly emphasized Brown's central contribution to that movement. Recent critical opinion has discerned in Brown a painter and designer of the highest originality, who ranks among the most significant of British artists.
F. M. Hueffer, Ford Madox Brown: a record of his life and works (1896) · T. Newman and R. Watkinson, Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite circle (1991) · The diary of Ford Madox Brown, ed. V. Surtees (New Haven, 1981) · M. Bennett, Ford Madox Brown, 18211893 (1964) [exhibition catalogue, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, full catalogue entries for large no. of works] · L. Parris, ed., The Pre-Raphaelites (1984) [exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London, catalogue entries for major works] · K. Bendiner, The art of Ford Madox Brown (University Park, Pennsylvania, 1998) · A. Staley, The Pre-Raphaelite landscape (1973) · W. M. Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown's pictures, Fraser's Magazine (May 1865), 598606 · W. M. Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown: characteristics, Century Guild Hobby Horse, 1 (1886), 4854 · S. Colvin, English painters of the present day, VIII: Ford Madox Brown, The Portfolio (1870), 816 · F. M. Brown, On the mechanism of a historical picture, The Germ, 2 (1850), 7073 · [F. M. Brown], An exhibition of Work and other paintings by Ford Madox Brown at the Gallery, 191 Piccadilly (opposite Sackville Street) (1865) [exhibition catalogue] · [F. M. Brown], The Slade professorship: address to the very rev., the vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1872) · F. M. Brown, Particulars relating to the Manchester town hall and description of the mural paintings in the great hall by Ford Madox Brown [n.d., c.1893] · H. M. M. Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown (1901) [exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1901] · E. M. Tait, The pioneer of art furniture: Madox Brown's furniture designs, The Furnisher: A Journal of Eight Trades (Oct 1900), 613 · A. Boime, Ford Madox Brown: meaning and mystification of work in the nineteenth century, Arts Magazine, 56 (1981), 11625 · G. Curtis, Ford Madox Brown's Work: an iconographic analysis, Art Bulletin, 74/4 (1992), 62336 · J. Treuherz, Ford Madox Brown and the Manchester murals, Art and architecture in Victorian Manchester, ed. J. H. G. Archer (1985), 162207 · W. D. Paden, The ancestry and families of Ford Madox Brown, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library of Manchester, 50 (19678), 12435 · L. Rabin, Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite history picture (1978) · J. Soskice, Chapters from childhood: reminiscences of an artist's granddaughter (1921) · W. E. Fredeman, Pre-Raphaelitism: a bibliocritical study (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965) [with full bibliography of works up to 1965] · m. cert. [Elisabeth Bromley] · m. cert. [Emma Hill] · d. cert. · IGI [Matilda Hill]
AM Oxf., diaries
Hunt. L., corresp.
Morgan L., diary
Princeton University, New Jersey, papers
V&A NAL, papers | BL, corresp. with T. G. Hake, Add. MS 49469, passim
Bodl. Oxf., letters to John Payne
Bodl. Oxf., letters to Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Bodl. Oxf., letters to Charles Rowley
Bodl. Oxf., letters to F. G. Stephens
JRL, letters to M. H. Spielmann
U. Leeds, Brotherton L., letters to Watts-Duncan
University of British Columbia Library, letters to James Leathart
F. M. Brown, self-portrait, pencil and chalk, 1850, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery · D. G. Rossetti, pencil drawing, 1852, NPG · D. G. Rossetti, pencil drawing, 1852, NPG, V&A · F. M. Brown, self-portrait, 18525, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery · photograph, 186069, Westminster Central Library; repro. in Watkinson and Newman, Ford Madox Brown, pl. 136 · F. M. Brown, self-portrait, oils, 1877, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts [see illus.] · W. Hodgson, pencil and watercolour sketch, 1892, NPG · W. & D. Downey, carte-de-visite, NPG · C. Dressler, plaster bust, Man. City Gall. · Elliott & Fry, carte-de-visite, NPG · J. M. Johnstone, woodcut (aged fifty-five; after F. M. Brown), BM · F. J. Shields, chalk drawing (after drawing of death mask), Man. City Gall.
Wealth at death
£2943 7s. 8d.: probate, Oct 1894, CGPLA Eng. & Wales