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Millais was one of the most successful society portrait painters of the late nineteenth century. Miss Eveleen Tennant is painted with the bold and fluent handling of paint and rich impasto (a thick build up of oil paint) characteristic of a new approach which he had adopted in the 1860s. This style is in stark contrast to the high finish and minute detail of his earlier Pre-Raphaelite works. Millais's working methods as a portraitist were notoriously energetic and were noted by several of his sitters. It was once remarked that he must have walked at least a mile in the course of each sitting.

August 2004