Sir John Everett Millais


1829 - 1896

Prodigious artist. Born in Southampton in the South of England, Millais was raised in on the island of Jersey and in Brittany (France). He was a child prodigy who became the youngest-ever student at the Royal Academy in London. In 1848, he became one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, but his style soon developed from detailed, highly-coloured painting to become much more fluid. Some of his early admirers were critical of his later works, especially when he allowed A Child's World (1886), which became known as Bubbles, to be used in the advertisment of Pears soap.

In 1853, Millais came to Scotland with the critic John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), notably painting him in Glen Finglas. Millais stayed with Ruskin and his wife Effie Gray (1828-97) at Brig o' Turk, and Millais and Gray soon became close. Effie divorced Ruskin the following year and married Millais. The couple settled in Perth, where he was to paint many of his most famous works. He also painted at Dunkeld, where he spent autumns fishing.

His works include landscapes, historical scenes and portraits. Some of the more recognisable are the controversial Christ in the House of his Parents (1850) and Ophelia (1852). Other notable works include Isabella (1849), Mariana (1851), The Order of Release (1853), with Effie as the model, The Blind Girl (1856), Autumn Leaves (1856), the North-West Passage (1874), which remembered Franklin's attempt to find a link from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans, and Dew-Drenched Furze (1890). His portraits included Thomas Carlyle (1795 -1881), William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98) and the young Beatrix Caird (1874-88), the daughter of Sir James Key Caird (1837 - 1916). Several of these are held in public collections, such as the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Tate Gallery in London, Dick Institute (Kilmarnock) and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Millais was also a successful book illustrator.

His artist friends included Edward La Trobe Bateman (1816-97), Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821 - 1901) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903).

Millais was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1853, knighted in 1885 and became President of the Royal Academy in 1896, shortly before his death. He died in London and was interred in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, but is remembered by the Millais Viewpoint in Perth. His wife and son are buried nearby, next to the Kinnoull Aisle.


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