Sleep, Pale Sister

Before writing her famous bestseller Chocolat, Joanne Harris penned Sleep, Pale Sister, a provocative 19th-century story of madness, lies, and laudanum. Written in 1994, it was reprinted ten years later and introduced to a broader audience.  The recent reprint contains bonus materials in the back for further discussion including an author interview and background information…
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The Eve of St. Agnes

Sir William Richmond, R.A. had this to say about Millais’ painting The Eve of St. Agnes and the innovative nature of Millais’ work:  “Millais’ literary sympathies were with Scott, Thackeray, and Dickens, and lastly, Louis Stevenson.  He loved anecdote and story as well as the literary embodiment of character; but I question if philosophical problem had much…
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The Happy Marriage of Effie Millais

The marriage of Sir John Everett Millais is often talked about due to its scintillating details. The marriage itself was not scandalous, Millais and his wife Effie seem to have had a happy life together. But the fact that prior to her marriage, Effie was married to critic John Ruskin is a source of infinite…
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The North-West Passage

In The North-West Passage, Millais used a retired sailor named Captain Trelawny for the old mariner.  Trelawny was described affectionately as a “jolly old pirate” and had a colorful past to prove it. The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, written by the artist’s son, mentions briefly that Trelawny was once abducted by…
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#MythicMarch nears its end

Happy Wombat Friday!  This week, our hero the wombat admires Waterhouse’s Flora and the Zephyrs, which can be seen in the previous post The Winds of Waterhouse.  March is coming to an end and #MythicMarch has been wonderful.  If you are interested in incorporating the beauty if myth into your home life, you can join…
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Welcoming Autumn

I’m particularly happy to welcome Autumn this year, with its crisp breezes and the promise of adventure.  Autumn Leaves, painted by Sir John Everett Millais, is a wonderful example of the beauty I find in the season.  It is an impressive example of a Pre-Raphaelite twilight and Millais has captured an unmistakable Autumn glow.  His…
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Effie Millais describes ‘Apple Blossoms’

Apple Blossoms captures a relaxing outing on a spring day.  Liverpool Museums points out that there are many different ways to interpret this painting, especially with the odd appearance of a scythe on the right hand side of the picture. On the face of it, this is a picture about youth and beauty, but it has…
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Pre-Raphaelite Marriage: Ruskin, Effie and Millais

John Ruskin was an an author, art critic, and social reformer who was an early champion of Pre-Raphaelite ideals.  Interestingly, he was also the patron who supported the work of Elizabeth Siddal. His marriage to  Euphemia Chalmers Gray, known as Effie, is universally described as a disaster.  The story goes that Ruskin rejected Effie on their…
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