Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stunning Portrait of Effie

I love stumbling across new sources for lovelies! Today I somehow came across the website for the Delaware Art Museum's Pre-Raphaelite collection. I'm not even done searching through all the stunning art on there, and I'm enjoying myself immensely.

This is my favorite image I've seen so far. This is Millais' artwork of his lovely (and infamously backstoried) wife Effie. It's the most stunning portrait I've ever seen of her. You simply must click the image to enlarge it to get the full effect of those's called A Highland Lassie.
The love triangle between John Ruskin, Effie Gray, and John Everett Millais is one of the most famous in Pre-Raphaelite history. Effie was originally married to John Ruskin, a famous patron of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but the marriage was never consummated, reportedly because when Ruskin saw Effie on her wedding night, he was appalled to discover that real women weren't like Classical statues....they had know...down there! How outrageous! Ruskin treated her extremely poorly, and when he invited Millais on a trip to Scotland and brought his wife along. Although Millais at first viewed the relationship between Ruskin and Effie as being ideally romantic, it didn't take long in close quarters with them to realize that there was serious trouble in the marriage. There is no indication that Millais and Effie ever acted on their mutual feelings while she was still married to Ruskin, but when Effie later requested and obtained an annulment on the grounds of 'incurable impotency,' she and Millais married, and found their happily ever after.

It's amazing to me how straight out of a movie or fiction book the relationships of the Pre-Raphaelites were! I've seen numerous portraits of Effie, but none that really made her seem as real a person as the one above.


Margaret said...

Your right, the eyes are incredible. I loved your previous post on Webber--to think his grandmother told him not to buy that painting! I did a post a while ago on the Museo de Arte de Ponce, that now has the painting. I guess they lucked out! Oh to see a Pre-Raph painting for 50 pounds--or even 500, for that matter!

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Hi! I just found your blog. I recently saw the Millais exhibition in London in November at the Tate. He's one of my favorite painters. I'm surprised no has yet made a movie about the love triangle between Effie, Ruskin and Millais

Grace said...

Margaret, oh how I wish I could find even an affordable sketch by a Pre-Raphaelite I loved! It's amazing to think that little doodle sketches done by the Brothers are now going for so much money.

Elizabeth, welcome!! I agree that the story would make for a wonderful movie. I don't think anyone has even novelized it, and I'd love to read a book exploring all the emotions of the story!

William Morris Society said...

Hello Grace

Since your such a fan--might one even say obsessed with--the Pre-Raphaleites and William Morris you ought to join the William Morris Society. We have events in the US as well as the UK, publish newsletters and a journal, and have a website and blog. Visit or drop me an e-mail.

Mark Samuels Lasner