Ford Madox Brown
The Last of England
The first image is the final painting and the second image is the watercolour replica for Brown's famous image of emigrants leaving England. The theme was inspired by the emigration of the sculptor Thomas Woolner, a fellow Pre-Raphaelite, who left for the goldfields of Australia in July 1852. In the same year, 369,000 emigrants left Britain to seek their fortune overseas.
As the main focus of the picture he chose a middle-class couple, 'high enough, through education and refinement, to appreciate all they are now giving up, and yet depressed enough in means to have to put up with the discomforts and humiliations incident to a vessel "all one class".
Beneath her shawl the woman cradles a small baby, whose tiny hand (modelled on that of Brown's own child) is just visible, grasping its mother's hand. The models for the figures were the artist himself and his second wife, Emma. The father's brooding expression betrays his anxiety and apprehension at the voyage ahead, while the mother's serene features convey her trust and sense of resignation.
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