Millais was born in Southampton in 1829 to a prominent Jersey-based family, then living in Portland Street. He was baptised in All Saints Church on the High Street. The family soon moved back to Jersey and thence to London. His prodigious artistic talent won him a place at the Royal Academy School at the unprecedented age of eleven. While there, he met William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabrielle Rossetti with whom he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in September 1848. He went on to become one of the nation’s most respected artists, elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1863. He was the first artist to be given a hereditary title when he was awarded a baronetcy in 1885. He died in 1896 and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.

It is not known if he ever revisited the town of his birth, but his two sons paid a visit in 1872, inspecting their father’s birthplace in Portland Street. Millais Street in Woolston is named after him and there is a plaque dedicated to him in Portland Street.

John Everett Millais

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Chalk drawing by his friend and fellow Pre-Raphaelite, William Holman Hunt, 1853

Further reading:

Sir John Everett Millais, by A. L. Baldry. (HS/t)
Sir John Everett Millais, by Russell Ash. (759.2)
John Everett Millais: A Biography, by G. H. Fleming. (759.2)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, Voume 38.
‘The Importance of Being Spot On’, by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Vol. 37, No. 4, February 1997, p26-27. (H/y)


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