Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893) was a British painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style. Though closely linked to them, he was never actually a member of the brotherhood itself, but adopted the bright colours and realistic style of William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Brown spent the latter years of his life painting the twelve works known as The Manchester Murals, depicting Mancunian history, for Manchester Town Hall.
Having successfully experimented with depicting women in eighteenth-century costume in previous compositions such as 'The Infant's Repast,' Brown chose to continue this theme for his first 'en plein air painting', 'Pretty Baa-lambs' . In earlier paintings he had, like other Pre-Raphaelite artists, painted the landscape outdoors but the figures in the studio. In 'Pretty Baa-lambs' Brown went further and posed his models outdoors, wanting to depict on canvas the effect of bright sunlight exactly as he found it in nature. He described working on the painting in his diary noting that:
"The baa lamb picture was painted almost entirely in sunlight which twice gave me a fever while painting. I used to take the lay figure out every morning and bring it in at night or if it rained. Emma sat for the lady and Kate for the child. The lambs and sheep used to be brought every morning from Clapham common in a truck. One of them ate up all the flowers one morning in the garden where they used to behave very ill."
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1012: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)