- Museum number
A Scottish farm; figure in foreground with two cows, hay (?) in small stacks at right, cluster of buildings beyond, some in ruin, hills in background, with trees on crest of hill at left
Watercolour, touched with white, strengthened with gum
- Production date
Height: 180 millimetres
Width: 330 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Stainton 1985
Overshadowed by the success of his younger brother John Everett Millais, William never took the step of becoming a professional artist; nevertheless, during the 1850s he produced a number of works, mainly watercolours, which show the application of Pre-Raphaelite principles to the painting of landscapes. During the summers of 1851 to 1853 he spent long periods sketching from nature; this watercolour may date from 1853 when he accompanied his brother and the Ruskins on the fateful visit to the Trossachs when the attachment developed between John Millais and Effie Ruskin that was to lead to their marriage in 1855. The intense colouring, in particular the use of violet-blue and emerald green, is characteristically Pre-Raphaelite.
The following label was written by Kim Sloan for Places of the Mind, 2017:
The brother of the Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais, William Henry was probably the first artist of the group to paint landscape directly from nature in water¬colours. He worked alongside his brother when he was painting the background of Ophelia at Ewell and Ruskin’s portrait in the Trossachs. William’s watercolour is made up of stipples and hatches of watercolour with bodycolour, the type of style and technique that Ruskin admired.
For further information see K. Sloan, 'The 'tormentingly elusive' art of drawing landscape', in K. Sloan (ed.) Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850-1950, (London, 2017), pp. 24-67.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1976 BM, Recent Acquisitions, (no cat.)
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860, no.190
1991 Jan-Mar, Cleveland MA, Ohio, BM English Watercolours, no. 95
1991 Mar-June, N Carolina MA, BM English Watercolours, no. 95
1994-5 Sept-Jan, BM, Pre-Raphaelite Drawings, no.101
2017 23 Feb-27 Aug, London, BM, G90, Places of the Mind: British Landscape watercolours 1850-1950
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number