Miss Beatrice Buckstone

Sweetest Eyes Were Ever Seen, Sir John Everett Millais
Sweetest Eyes Were Ever Seen, Sir John Everett Millais

Beatrice Buckstone posed for three of Millais’ works.   She was the granddaughter of actor/comedian John Baldwin Buckstone.  Finding Shakespeare has an interesting post showing Buckstone’s guestbook signature on his visit to the Bard’s birthplace, along with biographical information about the actor.  Millais’ son wrote about her in The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais:

About this time, to the great delight of Millais, a new and most charming model was discovered in the person of Miss Beatrice Buckstone, grand-daughter of the famous comedian J.B. Buckstone, and with the consent of her parents (for she was then but a child of 12 or 13) she sat for the three pictures, “Cinderella”, “Caller Herrin,” and “Sweetest Eyes Were Ever Seen”. It was at St. James’ Theatre, in the winter of 1880-81, that this happy discovery was made. One of my sisters, who happened to be at the theatre one evening when the child was playing in “Good Fortune” as a member of Mr. and Mrs. Kendal’s company, was so struck with her beauty that she prevailed on my father to go and see her. He, too, was equally captivated, and at once wrote to her mother, asking leave for her to sit to him. This being granted, little Beatrice presently appeared in the studio, when we all agreed that never in our lives had we seen a more lovely child. Her face was simply perfect, both in form and colour, and nothing could be more charming than the contrast between her bright golden hair and those big, blue-grey Irish eyes that peeped at you from under the shade of the longest black lashes that ever adorned the human face. The pictures for which she sat in no way exaggerated her beauty; they were but portraits of her own sweet self. It seemed a pity that she should ever grow older; but she did and in course of time became the wife of Mr. Walter Warren, who is connected with the stage. (The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais vol. II)

'Cinderella', Sir John Everett Millais
‘Cinderella’, Sir John Everett Millais

Millias’ Cinderella painting was praised by Sir W.B. Richmond (Slade Professor at Oxford) for her sad, subtle expression.  “I must tell you with all my heart how I love and admire your ‘Cinderella’. Many of the charms of childhood have been done by Holbein, Titian, Reynolds, and Gainsborough; but you have opened a new view, and have, as it seems to me, enriched the world by your original and ‘human’ picture”.

'Caller Herrin',Sir John Everett Millais
‘Caller Herrin’,Sir John Everett Millais

Caller Herrin is based on a traditional Scottish folk song.

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