- Also known as
John Everett Millais
primary name: Millais, John Everett
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; British; Male
- Life dates
- Langham Chambers, Langham Place, London (1859)
- Genre painter, etcher, designer of wood-engravings and watercolourist; founder and chief member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; President of the Royal Academy of Arts.
An infant prodigy, Millais was only ten years old when he qualified for admission to the Royal Academy Schools; and his painting of 'Pizarro seizing the Inca of Peru' (Victoria and Albert Museum) in the conventional academic style of the time is a remarkable achievement for a boy of sixteen. In 1848 he, Holman Hunt and Rossetti combined to found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 'Lorenzo and Isabella' (see 1901,0516.10), shown at the RA in the following year, was the first of a series exhibited in the 1850s, including 'Ferdinand and Ariel', 'Christ in the House of his Parents', 'Ophelia', 'John Ruskin', 'Autumn Leaves', 'The Blind Girl', in which the principles of Pre-Raphaelitism were expressed in a technique of dazzling virtuosity. But (as happened even more conspicuously with Arthur Hughes) the high level of technique and emotional intensity could not be sustained. By the end of the decade the quality of Millais's imaginative work began to decline, though his technical skill always gives it a certain distinction, and in the 1860s he designed some of the most beautiful book-illustrations of the period. Of his later paintings the best are his numerous portraits. Millais's career was one of unbroken success. Elected ARA as early as 1853 (RA 1863), he was created a baronet in 1885, and in his later years is said to have had an income of £30,000 a year. In 1896, though a dying man, his supremacy was acknowledged by his election to succeed Frederic Leighton as President of the Royal Academy, an honour which he enjoyed for only a few months.
Two letters from Millais are kept with archival material presented by Robin de Beaumont in 1992 (q.v.): one, dated 8 January 1859, to William Allingham (q.v.) concerning book illustrations, and referring to the suicide of the writer William North (1825-54); the other, dated 19 July 1761, to Samuel Lucas (1818–1868), editor of 'Once a Week' concerning the possible re-use of two illustrations
- Paul Goldman, 'Beyond decoration, the illustrations of John Everett Millais', British Library 2005 (two numbering sequences, one for book illustrations, and one again for periodical illustrations)
R.K.Engen, 'Dictionary of Victorian Wood Engravers', 1985
R K Engen, 'Dictionary of Victorian Engravers, Print Publishers and Their Wors', 1979
P. Barlow, 'Time Present and Time Past: The Art of John Everett Millais', 2005
M. Warner, 'The Drawings of John Everett Millais', 1979