Sunday, August 5, 2007


The Proscribed Royalist, 1651 (made in 1853) is a painting by John Everett Millais (1829-1896) which depicts a young Puritan woman protecting a fleeing Royalist after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, the decisive defeat of King Charles II by Oliver Cromwell. The Royalist is hiding in a hollow tree, a reference to a famous incident in which Charles himself hid in a tree to escape from his pursuers.

Born into an affluent middle class family in Southampton, Millais was a naturally talented artist with an engaging, unspoiled personality. He became the youngest pupil ever at the R.A. Schools when he arrived there aged 11, and the youngest to complete the course five years later. Technically he was extremely competent and was the star pupil, but he was criticized for lacking a certain breadth of imagination and vision, which is ironic given his future as a Pre-Raphaelite and a man whose many paintings kindled scandals.

Having started out as a young firebrand, Millais became a stalwart establishment figure - even becoming a baronet always faithful to the dictates of the R.A. He regularly showed at Academy exhibitions and became so influential there that he was made President in 1896, the same year that he died.

This Proscribed Royalist sold for £ 842,000 in 1983 ($1.2 million). It is part of the fabulous collection of Pre-Raphaelites of Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

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