Manchester Art Gallery

Cordelia's Portion

Ford Madox Brown, 1821 - 1893

Cordelia's Portion

Ford Madox Brown 1821 - 1893


Throne room scene. In the centre is King Lear on his throne. He is sunk low into his seat, which is decorated with mistletoe, his eyes fixed on Cordelia to the right. Cordelia stands with one hand touching her face, her other hand being held by the King of France, on the far right. On the King's other side are his other two daughters and their husbands, their hands interlaced in the interstices of Lear's crown. Other figures are gathered behind the throne watching the scene. A large map of the kingdom lies on the floor, different sections marked with the names of the daughters. In the background, on the left, a man (Kent) lingers in the doorway, looking back towards the scene.

Display Label

Drawings and Watercolours by Artists of the Pre Raphaelite Circle 11 October 2008 – 11 January 2009 Drawing is a more intimate activity than oil painting, and often better reveals the personality of an artist. In the 19th century individuality was often lost because of the rigid way in which drawing was taught. Artists in this display all rejected this academic training and, through drawing, developed their own individual style. They are often grouped together as Pre-Raphaelite because of their shared interests and concerns. Instead of working-up drawings laboriously with heavy shading to show volume and depth, they adopted a simple, more linear approach which they saw as more direct and honest. Although they associated this with early Italian art it also had much in common with the printed ephemera which had surrounded them since childhood, from cut-out toy theatres to book illustrations. They sought inspiration in history and literature, using the clear bright colours and simplicity they associated with medieval art. Friends were recruited as models to add realism. Drawing helped these artists to develop their ideas and produce works of great poetry and imagination. In addition to Holman Hunt and the Pre Raphaelite Vision in the gallery next door, you can see more Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the Victorian galleries on the first floor. Please note: we have set the light levels quite low in this gallery as drawings and watercolours are particularly sensitive to damage from intense lighting

Object Name

Cordelia's Portion

Creators Name

Ford Madox Brown

Date Created



unframed: 74.5cm x 107cm
framed: 97.5cm x 130cm

accession number


Collection Group

fine art
on paper, unique

Place of creation







© Manchester Art Gallery

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