- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-4243-6
- Pages: 264
- Price: £45.00
- Published Date: July 2022
This book argues that Ford Madox Brown's murals in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall (1878-93) were the most important public art works of their day. Brown's twelve designs on the history of Manchester, remarkable exercises in the making of historical vision, were semi-forgotten by academics until the 1980s, partly because of Brown's unusually muscular conception of what history painting should set out to achieve. This ground-breaking book explains the thinking behind the programme and indicates how each mural contributes to a radical vision of social and cultural life. It shows the important link between Brown and Thomas Carlyle, the most iconoclastic of Victorian intellectuals, and reveals how Brown set about questioning the verities of British liberalism.
'Ford Madox Brown: The Manchester Murals and the Matter of History offers readers a meticulous analysis of Brown's final artistic project . The detailed visual analyses in these chapters are a major strength and contribution of Trodd's book .. Trodd has taken the time to consider each image as part of a larger conceptual whole. His attentive readings reveal the coherent structure of the series and lend credence to his overarching argument that the murals have been largely misunderstood. , Trodd has done an exemplary job of articulating the stakes of his assertion in relation to larger concerns about British painting, Pre-Raphaelite conceptions of history, and the fraught relationship between Victorian art and dominant conceptions of modernism. Trodd's reading has the dual benefit of enriching our understanding of Brown's artistic motives and expanding our conception of how late-Victorian painting contributed to the history of British art. Without a doubt, Trodd's interpretation of the murals is the most sustained and detailed to date.'
Carolyn Porter Phinizy, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies (Summer 2023)
Ford Madox Brown and the Manchester Murals has been nominated for the William MB Berger Prize.
PART I: A WORKING LIFE
1 Ford Madox Brown and the historical imagination
2 The makingof Ford Madox Brown
PART II: HISTORY EMBODIED
3 Manchester, mythos, murals
4 The endless periphery
5 Manchester made modern
Afterword: the last of Ford Madox Brown
Colin Trodd is a Senior Lecturer in Art History and Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester