Cymon and Iphigenia

John Everett Millais 1829-96

Ink on paper, dated 1847

Accession number 2005.18

ink drawing 'Cymon & Iphigenia' by Millais

Acquired for the Lady Lever Art Gallery with the assistance of the Art Fund and Lord Leverhulme's Charitable Trust, 2005.

The beautiful maiden Iphigenia fell in love with Cymon, a handsome but coarse peasant boy. Though her friends made fun of him, she married him and he became a model husband. The story, from the Italian writer Boccaccio, is about the civilizing power of love.

The drawing is an early work, done before the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was started. It is not a preparatory study, but an independent work of art. However Millais used the subject for an oil painting, in the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Millais later re-painted parts of the oil, adding the dog, the ferns and grasses with Pre-Raphaelite detail. The drawing shows how the oil looked before it was re-touched.