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Photograph of Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) with his daughters, Mary (1860-1944) and Caroline, and a young girl, sitting in a doorway

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Perth and Kinross (photographed)

  • Date:

    13 September 1880 (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:


  • Gallery location:

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

Rupert Potter (1832-1914), father of the children's writer and illustrator, Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), was a keen amateur photogapher and a close friend of the painter and illustrator, Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Rupert would often assist Millais by photographing backgrounds for paintings and sitters for portraits. Beatrix Potter 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).

Mary Millais (1860-1944) and Caroline Millais (Mary is pictured here holding a tennis racket and Caroline is seated on the doorstep on the right) were the daughters of Euphemia ('Effie') Chalmers Gray (1828-1897) and Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Euphemia had previously married the art critic, author, poet and artist John Ruskin (1819-1900) in 1846. Shortly after their marriage, however, Ruskin introduced her to his friend and protegée, Millais, and while she modelled for Millais' painting, The Order of Release (1853), she fell in love with him. Ruskin had been unwilling to consummate his marriage to Euphemia and, despite having been married for several years, she was still a virgin. In 1854, therefore, Euphemia annulled her marriage to Ruskin and married Millais the following year. They had eight children, including John Guille Millais, a naturalist and wildlife artist.

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 the Potters who also spent extended summers in Perthshire, first at Dalguise, then later at Eastwood, a large house on the bank of the Tay in Dunkeld. Rupert photographed several pleasant summer afternoons in the company of the Millais family; another version of this photograph is held in the V&A's Linder Bequest.

Physical description

Photograph of Millais on the doorstep of a house with three young women. Millais sits on the arm of a wicker chair. A young woman holding a tennis racket sits in the chair beside him on his right. Another younger girl sits on the doorstep at her feet on the left of the photograph while the other woman sits on the doorstep on the right of the photograph. The group are flanked by two large urns of potted pelargonium with various implements, possibly for taking off shoes, lying on the lowest step at the base of each urn.

Place of Origin

Perth and Kinross (photographed)


13 September 1880 (photographed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Pencil inscription by Joan Duke on verso

'Sep 13/80'
Pencil inscription by Rupert Potter on verso


Height: 164 mm, Width: 208 mm

Object history note

Photograph taken by Rupert Potter in Perthshire on 13 September 1880.

Descriptive line

Photograph of Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) with his two daughters, Mary (1860-1944) and Caroline, and a small girl with a fringe; albumen print by Rupert Potter (1832-1914), 13 September 1880.


Photographic paper



Subjects depicted

Girls; Rackets (sports equipment); Doorways; Men; Tennis; Portraits; Flowers, pelargonium; Steps; Urns; Doorframes; Plants; Women; Group portraits


Photographs; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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