- Museum number
Study for the wood-engraving 'The Prisoner of Chillon'; interior with columns, a semi-naked figure lying on the floor, a seated man at right holding an implement above his head, on the left a man holding a pipe, crouching, another figure standing in a ray of light beyond. 1856
- Production date
Height: 151 millimetres
Width: 114 millimetres (sight measurement)
- Curator's comments
- This is one of a series of preparatory sketches executed by Brown for an illustration which accompanied Byron's poem "The Prisoner of Chillon" in an anthology edited by the Rev.R.Willmott entitled "Poets of the Nineteenth Century" and published in 1857. Brown's illustration was commissioned and transformed into a wood-engraving by George and Edward Daziel, the leading reproductive wood-engravers in the mid-nineteenth century. Other sketches for this design include a looser and therefore presumably earlier compositional sketch, in which the features of the figures are barely defined, and a highly-finished study of a corpse, both of which are in the collection of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (accession numbers 1927P353 and 1927P352 respectively). Brown later replicated the final composition of his design for the illustration as a small watercolour (now in the Yale Center for British Art) on commission for the industrialist and Pre-Raphaelite patron Thomas Plint (who also commissioned Brown's famous painting 'Work'). Manchester City Galleries also holds an oil painting by Brown, dated 1843, of an earlier scene from the same poem.
A design for the illustration, engraved on wood by the Dalziel brothers, to the poem by Byron in R. A. Willmott's anthology 'Poets of the Nineteenth Century' (1857). In Paris in 1842 Brown had painted another, less dramatic, scene from the same poem, of the three brothers chained to the pillars in the dungeon.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1994-5 Sept-Jan, BM, Pre-Raphaelite Drawings, no.54
2011/12 Oct-Jan, Manchester Art Gallery, Ford Madox Brown
2012 Feb-June, Ghent, Mus of Fine Arts, Ford Madox Brown
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Poets of the Nineteenth Century
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number