The long and stellar career of John Everett Millais (1829-1896) has been framed in terms of his rise to notoriety as an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood followed by a compromising descent into comfortable success as a popular painter and leading figure in the Royal Academy. But this dismissal of Millais's post-Raphaelite work overlooks more than forty years of artistic endeavour and distinction. In this book, nine scholars reexamine Millais's entire career from a variety of perspectives, arriving at a new vision of his place in the history of British art and finding that fame and recognition did not represent the end of this important Victorian artist's development. The contributors consider the whole fabric of Millais's work, seeking the patterns of continuity through his career.
They acknowledge the significance of Millais's association with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood yet place that brief phase into the context of his entire body of work Exploring such topics as Millais's position among contemporary artists; his active interests in theatre, literature, and science; his lifelong love of nature; his role as a celebrity and a popular artist; and his enduring fascination with the poignant spectre of mortality, the book presents a portrait of Millais not limited by the parameters of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It is a portrait of a supremely gifted artist, a rival of Frederic Leighton, and a counterpart to Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Debra N. Mancoff is a freelance writer and scholar-in-residence of the Newberry Library in Chicago. Studies in British Art 7, Paul Mellon Cenre for Studies in British Art