Work, Ford Madox Brown

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Work 1852-1865 Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893 The moral value of work was much discussed in the middle of the 19th century. This painting reflects that debate. One day, as Brown walked to his Hampstead studio, he caught sight of a group of navvies digging a drain. He had been reading Thomas Carlyle's Past and Present, which discusses the nobility of labour. It occurred to him that navvies were as worth painting as any group of picturesque Italian peasants who graced the walls of London art galleries. He made these constructors of the modern world the central focus of his painting, surrounding them with those who do not need to work or are deprived of meaningful work. In contrast, on the right, Thomas Carlyle watches as he converses with Rev. F D Maurice, founder of the first college for working men. These are brainworkers, the cause of purposeful work and happiness in others.

Giclee print on premium silk 240gsm paper
Paper size 560x800mm

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