Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Town Hall murals by Ford Madox Brown

Madox Brown's work in Manchester

Ford Madox Brown (1821-93) painted the twelve magnificent murals in the Great Hall.

In the 1850s Ford Madox Brown was associated with the Pre-Raphaelites when he produced his masterpiece 'Work' which is now in Manchester Art Gallery.

The murals are later works, begun in 1879, but not completed until 1893, the year he died. During this period he moved from London with his family, living first at Crumpsall, then at Victoria Park.

About the Murals

The choice of subjects stresses the importance of Christianity, commerce and the textile industry in our city's history. The murals are a monument to the ideals of the leaders of Victorian Manchester.

Brown did a great deal of research to check the details for accuracy and he wrote the descriptions himself. The murals, except for the last four, were painted directly on to the wall, not in true fresco as the pale colours would soon have become grimy, but using a Victorian technique, the Gambier Parry process of spirit fresco. The last four murals were painted on canvas after Brown's return to London.

Come and see the murals

The Murals are free to view and are located in the Great Hall of our Town Hall which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Make sure you check availability beforehand on 0161 234 4433, as private events may run during the day.

We sell postcards of the murals at the main reception desk, both individually and as a full set.

Read about the individual murals.

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