John Ruskin's interest in 'natural ornament', the use of plant and animal forms in decorative design, interested the young John Millais, who was very much Ruskin's protégé. To illustrate Ruskin's lectures on architecture and painting, Millais produced a number of drawings on this theme during the summer holiday of 1853, spent together at Glenfinlas in the Scottish Highlands (see British Museum Collection). This proved to be a fateful trip, as Millais fell in love with Ruskin's unhappy wife Effie (depicted in this sketch wearing imagined 'natural' jewellery). After an annulment of her marriage to Ruskin, she and Millais married in 1855.

  • Purchased and presented by subscribers, 1906.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist John Everett Millais -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Millais, PRB, PRA
316 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1967-01-14 - 1967-03-05
316 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1967-03-15 - 1967-04-30
Ruskin and the English Watercolour
102 Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester 1989-04-07 - 1989-05-13
102 Holburne Museum and Craft Centre, University of Bath 1989-05-26 - 1989-07-30
102 Bankside Gallery, London 1989-08-10 - 1989-09-10
John Ruskin: The Last Chapter
- Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield 1989-09-02 - 1989-12-22
John Ruskin and Victorian Art
200, repr. p. 223. Museum of Western Art, Tokyo 1993 - 1993
200, repr. p. 223. Kurvme 1993 - 1993
200, repr. p. 223. Nara 1993 - 1993
200, repr. p. 223. Utsunomiya 1993 - 1993


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p. 279.
Rainy Days at Brig O'Turk: The Highland Sketchbooks of John Everett Millais, 1853
Malcolm Warner 1983d Dalrymple Press, Westerham no. 25, p. 56.
Mary Bennett 1967 Royal Academy of Arts and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool p. 86.
John Everett Millais: Illustrator and Narrator
Paul Goldman 2004 Lund Humphries, Aldershot B43
Pre-Raphaelite Portraits
Andrea Rose 1981 The Oxford Illustrated Press, Yeovil p. 70.
European and American Jewellery, 1830-1914
Charlotte Gere 1975 William Heinemann Ltd, London no. 13.
Victorian Jewellery Design
Charlotte Gere 1972 Kimber, London p. 149.

Associated people

Name Type
Effie Gray Artist's model

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