John Everett Millais was a pioneering British painter and co-founder of the Pre-
A child prodigy, Millais was the youngest ever student to enter the prestigious Royal
Academy Schools at just age 11. There he met William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel
Rossetti. Together they rebelled against the teachings of their tutors and formed the Pre
-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They rejected High Renaissance artists like Raphael. Instead they
were inspired by earlier artists, like Botticelli.
Millais befriended the influential art critic John Ruskin, who supported the Pre-
Raphaelites and promoted their work. Millais fell in love with Ruskin's wife Effie, and
married her, after the Ruskins' marriage collapsed.
Millais' most controversial painting was Christ In The House Of His Parents. Critics
disliked it because it represented Christ in a human way and portrayed his family as low-class workers, rather than divine figures.
He became increasingly popular and in later life created one of his best known works A
Child's World (also known as Bubbles). It caused outcry when it was used to advertise
Pears Soap after the company bought the painting's copyright. Some art critics felt this
degraded the painting but Millais was powerless to stop it.
Other important works include The Princes In The Tower, Ophelia and The Order Of
Thumbnail credit: John Everett Millais, Self Portrait (detail), 1847, oil on board, National Museums Liverpool