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The English Boy

Brown, Ford Madox
Europe, United Kingdom

First floor: Pre-Raphaelites

oil/Oil paint
39.6 x 33.3 cm

More Details

Portrait of Oliver Madox Brown,
known as The English Boy 1860
Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
Oil on canvas

This is a fond portrait of an only son,
painted by his doting father.
Brown's love of the German artist Holbein is evident.

Oliver is seen at the age of five,
the whip and top like sceptre and orb,
the hat like a crown.

The little king of the household
was known for his exotic menagerie,
his precocious drawing
and his dirty habits!

Brown was devastated when Oliver
died of blood poisoning at the age of 19,
just after the publication of his first novel.

In a letter he wrote:
What seemed likely to turn out
the crowning reward of a life,
not over-stocked with successes otherwise,
is suddenly turned into mockery and illusion.