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Two photographs of Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) and his daughter, Mary Millais (1860-1944)

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Dunkeld (photographed)

  • Date:

    1881 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Potter, Rupert, born 1832 - died 1914 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Joan Duke

  • Museum number:

    E.760-2005

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 44, box A

Mary Millais (1860-1944) was the daughter of Euphemia ('Effie') Chalmers Gray (1828-1897) and Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Euphemia Gray had previously married the art critic, author, poet and artist, John Ruskin (1819-1900), in 1846. Shortly after their marriage, however, Ruskin introduced Euphemia to his friend and protegée, Millais, and while Euphemia modelled for Millais' painting, The Order of Release (1853), she fell in love with him. Ruskin had refused to connsumate his marriage and, despite having been married for several years, Euphemia was still a virgin. In 1854, therefore, Euphemia annulled her marriage to Ruskin and married Millais the following year. They had eight children, Mary their second daughter.

The Millais family lived mostly in London but spent long summer holidays at Annet Lodge near Bowerswell, Perthshire. Here, Millais executed many of his best known paintings and enjoyed the company of likeminded friends, including Rupert Potter (1832-1914), the father of the children's writer and illustrator, Beatrix Potter (1866-1943). The Potters, too, retreated to Perthshire for the summer months, renting first Dalguise House, then later Eastwood, a large house on the bank of the Tay in Dunkeld. An enthusiastic and skilled amateur photographer, Rupert photographed pleasant summer afternoons in the company of the Millais family; this photograph is one of several of Millais and his daughter, Mary, taken in 1881. Although the photograph is inscribed '1879' it is identical to other photographs in the V&A's Linder Bequest inscribed September 1881 (see BP.1291).

Rupert also assisted Millais by photographing backgrounds for paintings and sitters for portraits. Beatrix recounted one particularly memorable sitting in July 1884 when her father photographed the former prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), for Millais’ second portrait of him, completed in 1885: ' Papa has been photographing old Gladstone this morning at Mr. Millais'… They kept off politics of course, and talked about photography. Mr. Gladstone talked of it on a large scale, but not technically. What would it come to, how far would the art be carried, did papa think people would ever be able to photograph in colours?' (Journal, Monday 28th July 1884).

Physical description

Double-photograph print of two images of John Everett Millais and his daughter, Mary, seated on a wrought-iron bench in the garden, in front of a doorway. In the image on the left, Millais looks to his left and Mary to her right; Mary has her arm through Millais's arm. In the image on the right Millais looks directly at the camera; Mary looks a little to her right.

Place of Origin

Dunkeld (photographed)

Date

1881 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Potter, Rupert, born 1832 - died 1914 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Sir J. Millais / photographed by Rupert Potter'
Ink inscription by Joan Duke(?) on verso

'1879'
Pencil inscription by Rupert Potter(?) on verso

Dimensions

Height: 176 mm, Width: 214 mm

Object history note

Photograph of Sir John Everett Millais and his daughter, Mary, taken by Rupert Potter in 1881 (though dated 1879).

Descriptive line

Double photographic print of Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) and his daughter, Mary Millais (1860-1944); albumen print by Rupert Potter (1832-1914), 1881 (inscribed 1879).

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Photography

Subjects depicted

Portraits; Doorframes; Double portraits; Women; Garden seats; Doors; Gardens; Men; Wrought iron

Categories

Photographs; Scotland

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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