John Everett Millais

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John Everett Millais
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, (born June 8, 1829, Southampton, Hampshire, Eng.—died Aug. 13, 1896, London), English painter and illustrator, and a founding member of the artistic movement known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

In 1838 Millais went to London and at the age of 11 entered the Royal Academy schools. Extremely precocious, he won all the academy prizes. In 1848 Millais joined with two other artists, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was founded in opposition to contemporary academic painting, which the group believed was the result of the example set by Raphael and which had dominated the schools and academies since his time. At the next year’s academy, the novelist Charles Dickens led a violent attack on Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents (1850), which many considered blasphemous because of its lack of idealization and seeming irreverence in the use of the mundane.

Millais, 1854

Millais’s period of greatest artistic achievement came in the 1850s. The Return of the Dove to the Ark (1851) was admired by both the English essayist and critic John Ruskin and the French author Théophile Gautier; and The Order of Release (1853), which included a portrait of his future wife Effie Gray (then unhappily married to Ruskin, whose portrait Millais also painted), was praised by Eugène Delacroix in 1855 and earned for its artist his associateship to the Royal Academy in 1853. In 1856 Millais painted one of his greatest public successes, The Blind Girl—a tour de force of Victorian sentiment and technical facility.

In 1863 Millais became full academician, and by this time his style had broadened and his content altered toward a more deliberately popular, less didactic approach. He executed illustrations for George Dalziel’s Parables (1864) and E. Moxon’s edition of Tennyson’s poems and contributed to Once a Week, Good Words and other periodicals. Millais’s later work is undoubtedly of poorer overall quality—a deterioration of which he was fully aware. In 1870 appeared the first of his pure landscapes, Chill October. Many of these landscapes are of Perthshire, where Millais shot and fished in the autumn. Many portraits belong to this late period, including those of William Gladstone, of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and of Cardinal Newman. Millais was created a baronet in 1885 and was elected president of the Royal Academy in 1896.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Pizarro Seizing the Inca of Peru (1846), Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Isabella (1849)
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Christ in the House of His Parents (1850)
Tate Britain, London

A Huguenot on St Bartholomew's Day (1852)

Ferdinand Lured by Ariel (1852)

The Proscribed Royalist, 1651 (1853)
Lord Lloyd Webber

The Rescue (1855) National Gallery of Victoria

The Blind Girl (1856)
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Peace Concluded, 1856 (1856)
Minneapolis Art Institute

Autumn Leaves (1856)
Manchester Art Gallery

Sir Isumbras at the Ford (1857) Lady Lever Art Gallery

The Vale of Rest (1858) Tate Britain, London

The Black Brunswicker (1860)

The Eve of Saint Agnes (1863)
HM The Queen

Leisure Hours, (1864), oil on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts

Esther (1865) Private Collection

Vanessa (1868)
Liverpool Museums Service

Portrait of the Marquess of Lorne. National Gallery of Canada

The Boyhood of Raleigh (1871)

Victory O Lord! (1871)
Manchester Art Gallery

Portrait of Effie Millais (1873) Perth Museum and Art Gallery

The Two Princes Edward and Richard in the Tower (1878)
Picture Gallery of Royal Holloway College

The Northwest Passage (1878) Tate Britain, London

Cherry Ripe (1879) Private Collection

John Henry Newman (1881) National Portrait Gallery (London)

The Ruling Passion (1885) Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

The Grey Lady (1888)
Private Collection

Effie Deans
Private Collection

Self portrait
Uffizi Portrait Collection Florence

John Ruskin (1853–54)
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Knight Errant (1870)
Tate Britain, London