“It doesn’t matter how beautifully a thing is painted, it is no good if it isn’t right.” ~ John Everett Millais

John Everett Millais (pronunciation) was born on June 8, 1829, in Southampton, England. His father was a merchant sailor and his mother was an amateur artist. Millais showed an early interest in art and was encouraged by his parents to pursue it. He began formal art training at the age of eleven at the Royal Academy Schools in London.

Christ in the House of His Parents (`The Carpenter’s Shop’)

Millais rose to prominence as a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young artists who sought to revive the use of bright colors and detailed patterns in painting, in contrast to what they saw as the duller style of the dominant British art movement of their day. Millais’ painting “Ophelia” (1851-52) is considered one of the finest examples of Pre-Raphaelite art.


He continued to work in the Pre-Raphaelite style for several years afterwards, including his well-known painting of “Christ in the House of His Parents” (1849-50).

Millais was also a very successful portraitist, and many prominent members of British society had their portraits painted by him. He also created a large collection of drawings and sketches, some of which were published as engravings.

Joan of Arc

In 1855, he married Effie Gray, a model who had posed for several of his paintings. The couple had eight children together over the next 15 years. After his marriage to Effie, his painting style began to change.Some say he needed to paint more (and therefore, sell more) to support his growing family. 


As a result, he received a lot of criticism from artists and art critics accusing him of “selling out” to achieve wealth and fame. However, he attributed the change in style to his own growth and confidence as an artist.

He became quite a prolific illustrator for books and magazines as well. He illustrated the poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the works of Anthony Trollope, and the parables of Jesus. 


Millais continued to be a highly acclaimed and respected artist throughout his life. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1885, and made a baronet. And in 1896, he was elected as the President of the Royal Academy of Arts. Sadly, he died that same year at the age of 67. After his death, the Prince of Wales (who would later be known as King Edward VII) commissioned his statue to be made and was installed in front of the Tate Britain Museum in London.

The Bridesmaid

Millais’ work is characterized by its delicate handling of color and light and its detailed attention to detail. His early paintings often depict scenes from medieval romances or Shakespearean plays. In his later years, he abandoned the preoccupation with detail evident in his earlier work, and simplified his palette. He is still remembered for the contributions he made to Pre-Raphaelite art.

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