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  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Christ in the House of His Parents ('The Carpenter's Shop')' 1849-50

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Christ in the House of His Parents ('The Carpenter's Shop') 1849-50
    Oil on canvas
    support: 864 x 1397 mm frame: 1590 x 1873 x 141 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and various subscribers 1921

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  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Mariana' 1851

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Mariana 1851
    Oil on wood (mahogany)
    support: 597 x 495 x 15 mm frame: 876 x 767 x 55 mm
    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery 1999

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  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Ophelia' 1851-2

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Ophelia 1851-2
    Oil on canvas
    support: 762 x 1118 mm frame: 1105 x 1458 x 145 mm
    Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894

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  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Mrs James Wyatt Jr and her Daughter Sarah' circa 1850

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Mrs James Wyatt Jr and her Daughter Sarah circa 1850
    Oil on mahogany
    support: 353 x 457 mm frame: 575 x 677 x 68 mm
    Purchased 1984

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  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'The Artist Attending the Mourning of a Young Girl' circa 1847

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    The Artist Attending the Mourning of a Young Girl circa 1847
    Oil on board
    support: 187 x 257 mm frame: 285 x 335 x 45 mm
    Purchased 1996

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Millais was born in Southampton, but spent much of his youth on Jersey. The family moved to London in 1838 to encourage his great talent in drawing. In 1840, aged eleven, he entered the Royal Academy of Art schools, still their youngest ever student. Here he produced fine academic studies and won a number of prizes.

In 1848 Millais’s art underwent a dramatic transformation when he established the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with a group of six other rebellious young artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. This movement was formed in a spirit of opposition to the operatic illusionism that underpinned British academic painting and which characterises Millais’s own Pizarro of 1846. Pre-Raphaelite works, by contrast, revived medieval and early-Renaissance art and featured a deliberate naivety in composition and a psychological intensity which insisted on the quirks and specifics of human physiognomy.

Paintings like Isabella and Christ in the House of his Parents were widely perceived as perverse and even repulsive, making Millais the enfant terrible of the movement. However, the technical brilliance with which he rendered surface detail also marked him as the most precociously skilful artist of the group and his Pre-Raphaelite pictures, no matter how radical, were always accepted into the Academy exhibitions.