Sir John Everett Millais, Bt (1829-1896)


Oil on panel

H 32.4 x W 25 cm

Birmingham Museums Trust

Accession no. 1909P62

Gift from Clara Grace Nettlefold (née Hutton), 1909

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The outdoor scene could be beautiful but there is shadow as well as sunlight, and the slanting woodwork of the steps frames a young woman whose expression is distinctly anxious. Who is she waiting for? Will the person (surely, a man) turn up? Where will they go? She has perhaps trodden a difficult path to this point, and who knows what her future may hold. The artist may have had in mind his own wife, Effie, who had previously been married to John Ruskin.— Jacqueline Banerjee