Ford Madox Brown, The Irish Girl, 1860 (Yale Centre for British Art)

Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893) is sometimes considered the most eccentric English Pre-Raphaelite artist. He was one of the main representatives of this British movement, which combined a socially engaged modernism with an interest in medieval art and religious traditions. This peculiar mix led to the creation of such masterpieces as 'Work' and 'The Last of England'. Brown also painted phenomenal landscapes, lively portraits and vivid historical scenes, which surprise the onlooker with their originality.

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All the artist’s major works had been gathered for this retrospective exhibition, curated by the Manchester City Art Gallery. In Ghent the exhibition was completed with works by his Belgian contemporaries. After all, Brown studied at the academies of Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp before he made a career for himself in England.

The exhibition was first shown in Manchester and then travelled to Ghent.