Brown, Ford Madox
Europe, United Kingdom, England
First floor: Pre-Raphaelites
71.5 x 54.8 cm
Byron's Dream 1874
Ford Madox Brown 1821-93
Oil on canvas
Lord Byron was a favourite poet of Ford Madox Brown.
This painting illustrates
his partly autobiographical poem The Dream,
about unrequited love and its devastating impact.
It shows the adolescent Byron and his first love,
Mary Chaworth, sitting on a hill near their home.
He likened them to Romeo and Juliet
as their families did not get on.
He is looking at her but she has eyes only for the
approach of her lover, Jack Musters.
He can be seen riding in the valley.
He signals with his kerchief
that he will hide a letter for her in their secret place.
Byron never forgot Mary
and spoke of her to his dying day
as someone who could have redeemed him,
had things been different.