'Vanessa', John Everett Millais

Formal portrait of Vanessa in a floral dress

This painting was George Holt’s first major acquisition for Sudley. He paid £1575 for it in 1885 when it marked a distinct move upmarket in his art collecting. Henceforward, he would concentrate - almost exclusively - on ‘blue chip’ artists marketed by his preferred dealers, Thomas Agnew and Sons.

By the time he painted this work, Millais had abandoned his youthful Pre-Raphaelite principles in favour of popular subjects that showed off his bravura handling of paint. This is a fancy portrait of an artists’ model posing as the lover of the 18th century writer, Jonathan Swift.

Artwork details

Medium: Oil on canvas
Date: 1868
Accession No: WAG 272