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This painting shows an imaginary incident during the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris, when thousands of Protestants were slaughtered by Catholics. Millais shows the pious devotion of a Catholic who is prepared to kill for his beliefs.

 

Although the subject is taken from
French history, in the nineteenth
century many British people viewed
the religious struggles between Protestants and Catholics as fundamental
to the development of national identity.

July 2008