Hill, Emma

BORN 16 May 1829, Newent, Gloucestershire - DIED 11 Oct 1890, London
BIRTH NAME Hill, Emma Matilda
GRAVE LOCATION London: St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery and Islington Crematorium, 278 High Road, East Finchley (Section 12R, grave 9 (on the hill behind the Mond mausoleum))

Emma Hill was the daughter of the bricklayer Thomas Hill. She moved to London with her family in the 1840s and lived with her widowed mother in St. Pancras. In 1848 she started modelling for Ford Madox Brown, who sent her to a school to acquire middle-class manners. In 1850 their daughter Catherine was born and on 5 April 1853 she married Brown.

They had two more sons. Oliver was born in 1855 and Arthur died as a baby. Emma improved herself by reading and was fond of the novels of George Eliot and Tolstoy. She was the main model for her husband's pictures, among them "The Last of England".

The house of the Browns at Fitzroy Square in London was a centre of artistic activity. But Emma had a drinking problem, possibly connected with her husbands infatuations with Marie Spartali and Mathilde Blind. But their marriage lasted. Oliver showed promise as a painter but he died in 1874 of blood poisoning. Emma died in 1890 and Madox Brown survived her until 1893.

• Son: Brown, Oliver Madox
• Husband: Madox Brown, Ford (1853-1890, London: St Dunstan-in-the-West)


The grave of Ford Madox Brown at the St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (27 May 2014)


The grave of Ford Madox Brown at St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (27 May 2014)


• Thirlwell, Angela, Into the Frame, The Four Loves of Ford Madox Brown, Chatto & Windus, London, 2010

Hillebrand, Karl Arnold

Published: 26 Nov 2017
Last update: 17 Jul 2022