Thursday, 12 February 2015

For the Squire

In the image we can see John Everett Millais's work entitled For the Squire, which was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1883 and follows the tradition of 'winsome and picturesque girls' Millais produced in the late 1870's and 1880's. This genre, which included Cherry Ripe, Une Grande Dame and The Nest, Millais used his own daughter, friends or professional models as sitters, but for this particular image the child is not known. 

Here we see a rosy cheeked, dewy eyed county girl, as she waits to deliver a letter to the unseen squire. The child looks quite calm considering the landholding gentry were viewed as as symbols of authority and often feared by the tenant/farming community.

Millais could be said to have been a true artistic prodigy, entering the Royal Academy school in 1840 and winning a gold medal there when he was only eighteen. At the Academy he became friendly with Holman Hunt, and the pair formed, with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and others, the famous group of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. One of the most successful and important artists of his time, Millais had many engravings of his work, including this one, sold around the world.

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