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John Everett Millais - 1829 to 1896


Born 8th June at Southampton, youngest son of John William Millais and Emily Mary Hodgkinson, nee Evamy, natives of Jersey to where they removed when Millais was four. Showed an early ability to draw.

Moved to London. Studied at Henry Sass's Drawing Academy: gained society of Arts Silver Medal.

Entered Royal Academy Schools as probationer (July), and aged 11 as student (December) 1840 - the youngest student ever. Medal for antique 1843, and gold medal for 'Benjamites seizing their Brides' 1847. First exhibited at Royal Academy 1846 with 'Pizarro seizing the Inca of Peru' (Victoria and Albert Museum).

Intimate with W Holman Hunt (met initially as students c1844) and discussing new ideas in art. 'Cymon and Iphigenia' (Viscount Leverhulme) in old style rejected for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1848. Painted landscapes in summer ('Landscape - Hampstead', Sudley House) and finished old work. Met Rossetti. Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in September in the Millais family home at 83 Gower St Began 'Isabella' (Walker Art Gallery).

'Isabella' and Hunt's 'Rienzi' at Royal Academy and Rossetti's 'Girlhood' at Free Exhibition, first works in new Pre-Raphaelite manner gained appreciative attention. Summer, began usual practice of painting landscape background to which figures were added in the studio. In addition, winter project: 'Christ in the House of His Parents' (Tate Gallery).

'Christ in the House of His Parents' had a hostile reception when exhibited at Royal Academy because of its heightened realism and because the meaning of the 'PRB' initials with which the painting was signed leaked out. Ruskin wrote to 'The Times' in May 1851 defending the Brotherhood. Produced a series of paintings illustrating poetry, Shakespeare and imaginative subjects which he sold easily. In summer 1851 with Hunt at Kingston - on- Thames, painting backgrounds for 'Ophelia'(Tate Gallery) and 'A Huguenot' (Makins Collection). Latter acclaimed at Royal Academy 1852; Millais elected Associate of the Royal Academy 1853. Ruskin attempted to exert influence while together in Scotland in summer 1853, painting portrait of 'Ruskin' (private collection).

Married Euphemia Chalmers Gray July 1855, after her marriage to Ruskin annulled. Lived near her home at Annat Lodge, Perthshire. 'Autumn Leaves' (Manchester City Art Galleries) and 'The Blind Girl' (Birmingham City Museum & Art Gallery), culmination of earlier powers but already showing broadening of style. 'Sir Isumbras' (Lady Lever Art Gallery) at Royal Academy 1857, bitterly criticised by Ruskin. Painting on a bigger scale: 'Apple Blossoms' (Lady Lever Art Gallery),' Vale of Rest' (Tate Gallery). Losing popularity.

Regained position and popularity with return to earlier, more detailed finish with 'The Black Brunswicker' (Lady Lever Art Gallery), Royal Academy 1860.

Settled in London 1862. Elected Royal Academician 1863. Evolved style broader in handling, showing influence of Velasquez. 'Vanessa' 1869 (Sudley House). Increasingly popular subjects. 'The Boyhood of Raleigh' 1870 (Tate Gallery).' Rosalind in the Forest' 1870 (Walker Art Gallery).

Turned to portraiture with immediate success.' Hearts are Trumps' 1872,'Mrs Bischoffsheim' 1873 (both Tate Gallery). Painted large landscapes in autumn in Perthshire. Increasing number of fancy and historical subjects: 'The Martyr of the Solway' 1871, 'The Good Resolve' 1877 (both Walker Art Gallery), 'The North-West Passage' 1875 (Tate Gallery), 'An Idyll of 1745' (Lady Lever Art Gallery).

Highly successful at Paris Universal Exhibition; awarded Medaille d'Honneur and created Officer of the Legion d'Honneur.

Many portraits of public figures, including 'Alfred Lord Tennyson'

1881(Lady Lever Art Gallery). Pictures increasingly popularised through engraving and through weekly magazines:'Bubbles' 1886 (A.& F. Pears Ltd), used for advertising Pears soap.

Created a Baronet. Grosvenor Gallery exhibition of 159 works 1886.

'Lingering Autumn' (Lady Lever Art Gallery) among several large Scottish landscapes painted at Murthly, Perthshire.

Elected President of Royal Academy, but already ill with cancer. Died August and buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Exhibition of collected works at Royal Academy, containing 242 items.