The beautiful painting opening this post is entitled Princess Elizabeth in Prison at St. James' created by John Everett Millais. The poor little Princess Elizabeth (1635-1650), second daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, was confined in St. James' Palace by order of Parliament when the English Civil War began in 1642. Elizabeth is represented here in 1850, after half of her life imprisoned, composing her touching letter to Parliament in which she begs for her loved servants to remain with her and to be allowed to join her sister, the Princess of Orange. Her letter proved moving enough for the previous and most cruel policy to be reversed. She was transferred to Carisbrook Castle on the Isle of Wight, when her brother, future Charles II, landed in Scotland with a liberating army. Sadly, Princess Elizabeth died 8 days after her trasfer, being only 15 years old.
Along with other lost gems of the ages, a small explanation of this painting with a lovely poem written to Millais by a young student about Millais' Elizabeth is contained in this book: The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais: President of the Royal Academy, Volume 2.
Vols. 1 & 2 respectively, as follows:
Self portrait 1881 John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
Millais was a controversial and rebellious 19th century English painter and illustrator, and who does not love a little of the rebel? Known for his opposition to the modern methods of composition as taught in the art academies of the day, he was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Besides a bit of professional controversy over some of his paintings, he became a love magnet to Effie, the wife of his biggest outspoken supporter, social critic John Ruskin. Effie sought an annulment from her 6 year marriage to Ruskin, which turned up a salacious few tidbits about Ruskin himself in marriage annulment court, all feeding a tremendous scandal, a Victorian age "love triangle".
Listed on left is the book titled John Ruskin and Effie Gray: The story of John Ruskin, Effie Gray and John Everett Millais, told for the first time in their unpublished letters. There have been several dramatic features including films, plays, operas and radio programmes retelling the fascinating relationships of Millais, Ruskin and Effie. Further, a study of this this love triangle, of Effie & John Ruskin's unsatisfied marriage along with a study of its traumatic wedding night can be found in the book listed on right titled Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages.