(Born Southampton, 8 June 1829; died London, 13 August 1896). English painter and book illustrator. A child prodigy who was hard-working as well as naturally gifted, he became the youngest ever student at the Royal Academy Schools when he was 11, and although he suffered some temporary setbacks in his twenties, his career was essentially one of the great Victorian success stories. In 1848, with Rossetti and Holman Hunt, he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and had his share of the abuse heaped against the members until Ruskin stepped in as their champion. (In 1855 Millais married Effie Gray, formerly Ruskin's wife, after this first marriage had been annulled.) In the 1850s his style changed, as he moved away from the brilliantly coloured, minutely detailed Pre-Raphaelite manner to a broader and more fluent way of painting—with a family to support he said he could not afford to spend a whole day working on an area ‘no larger than a five shilling piece’.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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