John Everett Millais : A Biography
(Gordon H. Fleming)
Among the notorious Victorian artists who called themselves Pre-Raphaelites, the most renowned was John Everett Millais. A fascinating, wonderfully diverse individual, he knew nearly "everybody who was anybody." Well-honored by his peers, he was, for forty years, Britain's most popular artist. The350 paintings he produced displayed their creator's remarkable versatility: Millais was a master of historical, mythological, Biblical, and literary subjects as well as landscapes and portraits. Astonishingly, there has been no full-length biography of Millais for a hundred years, so much of G.H. Fleming's material has never before appeared in a book. This vivid, authoritative portrait is a long-overdue contribution to art history.
(John Everett Millais (Editor), Malcolm Warner, Kate Flint, H. Matthew, Peter Funnell
John Everett Millais is still thought of mostly as a Pre-Raphaelite painter, but a much longer portion of his career was devoted to painting the portraits of the Victorian rich and famous. Not only did this prove extraordinarily lucrative--Millais earned what by today's standards would be millions from his portraits--it offered one of the most talented 19th-century painters the chance to fashion powerful and memorable images of the people of his age. This book is the catalog to the 1999 Millais Portrait exhibition debuting at the National Gallery in London and traveling around the United States. It is a much more handsome production than most catalogs. The pictures are beautifully reproduced, and in place of the often bland catalog commentary are essays from four leading art historians on Millais's early and Pre-Raphaelite portraits and his portraits of children, women, and men of power. Altogether, these writings provide an absorbing historical and critical context for the pictures. It is in the contrast between a Millais portrait of an old woman in black (Isabella Heugh, 1872) and the more famous portrait by James Whistler of his mother (Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, 1871) that Millais's talent as a portraitist is precisely articulated. Isabella Heugh is not only full of character but the canvass itself is dynamic and involving with its potent color scheme and diagonal composition. Next to it, Whistler's famous image seems flat and denuded.