UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Euphemia Millais, 1828-1898

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1828
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1898
Place of Death:

Identity:

Euphemia ('Effie') Chalmers Millais, née Gray, was the eldest daughter of George Gray, a Writer to the Signet in Perth, and an old friend of John James Ruskin, whose son, the critic John Ruskin, she married on 10 April 1848. Following the annulment of their marriage in 1854, she married the artist John Everett Millais in July 1855. Together they had eight children.

Life:

Effie was beautiful and a great social success on her early visits to Venice with Ruskin, where she was admired by Field-Marshal Radestzky. However, Effie, who did not come from a wealthy or connected family, was not accepted by Ruskin's parents. In March 1853 she modelled for Millais' The Order of Release (1852-3; Tate Gallery, London), and that summer Millais joined Effie and Ruskin on a holiday in Scotland, where he and Effie fell in love. The subsequent annulment of Effie's marriage to Ruskin on 15 July 1854, on grounds of non-consummation, and her marriage to Millais on 3 July 1855 provoked scandal. Effie and Millais settled in Perth, near Effie's parents.

In December 1878 James Anderson Rose noted that Effie should have been called as a witness in the Whistler v. Ruskin trial as she could have demonstrated that Ruskin was a coxcomb and an imposter (#08748).

Bibliography:

Lutyens, Mary, Millais and the Ruskins, London, 1967; Hilton, Tim, John Ruskin: The Early Years, London, 1985.