Leaving Home: Ford Madox Brown’s The Last of England (1855)

Ford Madox Brown, The Last of England, 1855, oil on panel, 82.5 x 75 cm (Birmingham Museums Trust), Image Source: wikimedia

The family’s clothing and the bundle of books next to them indicate that they are middle class and educated,[1] and so they are not leaving for the reasons that would force the emigration of the working classes; Brown’s writing touched on the same theme:

The educated are bound to their country by quite other ties than the illiterate man, whose chief consideration is food and physical comfort

The Last of England at wikiwand
A conversation with Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris about Ford Madox Brown’s The Last of England, 1855.

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The Last of England at wikiwand

Ford Madox Brown at wikiwand

Masterpiece Story: The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown, by James Singer at DailyArt

The Last of England at Khan Academy

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Ford Madox Brown at ArtUK

Ford Madox Brown at wikimedia

A watercolor version of The Last of England at the Tate

Another version of this painting at The Fitzwilliam

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Wikipedia notes: “Emma Hill became a frequent model for Brown from 1848; for example, she is the wife in The Last of England. She became his mistress, and they shared a house in London, but social convention discouraged him from marrying an illiterate daughter of a bricklayer. Their daughter Catherine Emily was born in 1850, and eventually they were married at St Dunstan-in-the-West in April 1853.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a pleasure!💐

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Timelesslady says:

    Beautiful painting. I often wonder how I would have fared in this, and other situations, such as the pioneers who went west in to California and Oregon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I marvel at the tenacity of those who did this! Thanks for sharing your reflections, Timelesslady. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, her eyes look super real. 🤓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those eyes really are expressive. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Gia. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this painting with its haunting image of a young couple with infant leaving their country for a better life. The uncertainty of that future is captured well in their facial expressions and the way in which they cling to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this one, too. Those eyes say it all – fear, hope, courage, perseverence… Thanks for sharing your reflections, Rosaliene. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. catchlight says:

    The Last of England is currently on loan to the Barber Institute, Birmingham.

    Liked by 1 person

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