Christ Sees the Disciples Labouring at the Oar
Chalk, pen and grey ink; monogrammed and dated '64
24 x 18 inches
Philip Webb, given away by him c. 1900
A.C. Sewter, The Stained Glass of William Morris and His Circle, 1974-5, p 171, plate 245.
Ford M. Heuffer, Ford Madox Brown: A Record of His Life, 1896, p 446
Mary Bennett, Ford Madox Brown: a Catalogue Raisonne, 2010, Vol 2, C114, p 482
One of a pair of designs by Brown for St Mary and All Saints Church in Sculthorpe, Norfolk. His grandson Ford Madox Hueffer (pen name Ford Madox Ford) refers to it in his Life of Brown:
‘With 1865 we reach a year and period of really astounding productiveness ... August also brought the two ship designs for the Firm’ [the other being Christ raising Peter from the Sea, a version of which is on loan to Wightwick Manor].
It depicts Matthew XIV, 24: ‘But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary’. In the next verse Jesus walked upon the waters of the Sea of Galilee. The message is one of faith, the action dynamic and dramatic. Brown drew only 123 stained glass designs for ‘The Firm’ of Morris and Company (which was founded in 1861), and his earliest attempts betray a lack of understanding of the process of making a window, but (as Sewter noted), ‘he gave very careful thought to the special demands of the medium’ and by concentrating on “invention, expression and good dramatic action”, ‘together with a fondness for realistic details’, his ‘... special gifts for heightened emotional expression were recognised by Morris’.