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Eliza Wyatt is shown here with her daughter Sarah. Eliza was the daughter-in-law of James Wyatt, a collector, dealer and print publisher who supported the Pre-Raphaelites.The prints on the wall show Renaissance masterpieces: Raphael’s Madonna della Sedia, Leonardo’s The Last Supper and Raphael’s Alba Madonna. Their flowing lines and idealised figures contrast sharply with the realistic but awkward portrayal of Eliza and Sarah Wyatt. John Everett Millais seems to be emphasising how his art challenges the Victorian taste for Renaissance art. This is also why the group called themselves the Pre-Raphaelites.

July 2007