A painting by Ford Maddox Brown
, ca. 1853. Currently housed at the Ashmolean Museum
It is designed to imitate an altar triptych. In the center is a depiction of Geoffrey Chaucer reading from a book to the court of Edward III, particularly the Edward the Black Prince, Chaucer's patron. Chaucer is seen as the seeds of English poetry (and rightly so). On the left side of the tryptich are John Milton, Edmund Spencer, and William Shakespeare. On the right are Lord Byron, Alexander Pope, and Robert Burns. Above the two wings are roundels of Oliver Goldsmith and James Thomson. Cherubs hold cartouches with the names Campbell, Moore, Shelley, Keats, Chatterton, Kirke White, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
By imitating the format of an altar triptych, which usually depict the life of Christ or the saints, the painting is meant to enshrine poetry and poets--particularly English poetry and poets--as important as religious figures. In this respect, it is typical of the works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, though Brown was not one of the Brotherhood, but a mentor.
The painting can be seen at: