In 1878, Millais and his family moved into a newly-built neo-Renaissance home at 2 Palace Gate, Kensington, designed by the architect Philip Hardwick. Millais’s house is described in a letter from PW Campbell, to his Aunt Jane and is kept in the Tate Archive (date unknown).
The large cool hall, marble pillared, led you to the foot of the large stairway with its marble dado at the top of which was the seal (modelled out of Sicilian marble which took 18 months to polish) from whose mouth a stream of water fell into a marble basin and made even this hot and sultry day feel cool and pleasant. The dining room door is about twice the height of an ordinary door and led into a room whose floor was altogether parquet work and polished like a ball room. There were a few ornaments but what there were, were striking half a dozen blue and white china vases on the mantle piece, some five pictures on the wall - all of the Dutch school of animals all but purchased at Sir Edward Landseer’s sale - quaint and to a novice rather in want of being refreshed and touched up tho’ a connoisseur wo’ probably say that was sacrilege. There was also a panel reserved for some assefois and a Zulu shield brought from. G Capt. James whose picture as seen in the Academy shows that he must be an exceptionally handsome man, well-worthy so far as one can judge from appearances to win the hand of the great painter’s eldest daughter! The dining room led into the smaller drawing & that into the foyer and thence to the Studio all en suite. There were a few select pictures on the walls, not many, in the centre of the first of these rooms is a piece of sculpture, said to be the combined work of Michael Angelo & Rubens - Leda and the Swan purchased by Millais in Florence some years ago for 500 now worth 1000.