John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
A child prodigy in art, John Everett Millais entered the
Royal Academy Schools at age 11, and exhibited at the RA from age 17. He became ARA as early
as 1853, then RA and finally, in the year of his death, President of the Academy.
He was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Millais
quickly moved from a mannerist to a realistic style in keeping with the Pre-Raphaelite ideal. In
1853, he went to Scotland and was coached by John Ruskin and incidentally married the wife of Ruskin
after the latter's marriage was annulled. She was later be his model for the soldier's wife
in The Order of Release. His St Isumbras at the Ford, showing the knight and two
oversweet children on an oversize horse, induced the young Frederick Sandys to draw a famous
caricature featuring Millais as the knight, Rossetti and Holman Hunt as the children, and the
donkey as John Ruskin.
Millais was also a notable illustrator during the 1860s. Some of his important
illustrations include the 18 for Moxon's Tennyson.
Ophelia and The Vale of Rest by Millais can be seen at the
Tate Gallery, The Blind Girl in Birmingham, Autumn Leaves in Manchester, Lorenzo
and Isabella at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, St Isumbras at the Ford and The
Black Brunswicker at the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight, The Bride of Lammermoor is
in Bristol, Convalescent and Brighteyes are in the Aberdeen Art Gallery, and Return
of the Dove to the Ark at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Portraits by Millais can be seen at
the National Portrait Gallery. A very early work, before Millais became a Pre-Raphaelite, is in
The Knight Errant,