Urchin baby

Baby, detail from Ford Madox Brown's Work, 1852-1865

This urchin baby was based on a sketch of Ford Madox Brown's own son, Arthur, who died whilst the painting was being created.

The black ribbon worn by the baby is a symbol of mourning. In the painting, this would be mourning for the mother of the urchin children who is said to have died, although it also could represent Brown's own mourning for his son.

Brown states in his diary: "drew poor little Arthur's head for the baby, and began painting it the day he was taken ill, and had to rub out what I had done."