This is the earliest known etching by Millais, originally intended for the fifth issue of the Pre-Raphaelite journal 'The Germ' but never used. The scene from a story by Rossetti shows a fifteenth century artist painting the portrait of his dying lover. Three impressions are known to date, now in The Victoria and Albert Museum, Yale Centre for British Art and this Birmingham impression, mounted beside the reversed preparatory drawing. In the transference to the etching plate, the design appears to have moved closer to Rossetti's text, open-eyed terror in the face of the young girl giving away to an expression of forced resignation to her fate.

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


Association Artist Organisation
Artist John Everett Millais -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
WBS Monogram (William Bell Scott's collector's stamp).
Monogram - Stamped -
Etched by Millais for 'the Germ' - 5th Number, never published. Intended I think to illustrate a story by D. G. R. called 'The Intercession of St Agnes'. Given to me by Millais; his only impression. 1850-1.
Inscription frame Handwritten - Inscribed by W. Bell Scott on the back of the former frame of the etching.


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
The Collection of Drawings and Studies by Sir edward Burne-Jones...
485ii Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery 1913 - 19113
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
253a City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham 1947-06-07 - 1947-07-27
Millais, PRB, PRA
116 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1967-01-14 - 1967-03-05
116 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1967-03-15 - 1967-04-30
Prints in Focus, Part I
42. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham 1997-10-04 - 1997-11-30
John Everett Millais: Illustrator and Narrator
2 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham 2004-10-16 - 2005-01-16
17b Tate Britain, London 2007-09-26 - 2008-01-13


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. 265.
John Everett Millais: Illustrator and Narrator
Paul Goldman 2004 Lund and Humphries, Aldershot cat. no. 2 / B25.
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites
Colin Cruise 2005 Merrell, London and New York fig. 33 / p. 99.
Prints in Focus
Tessa Sidey 1997 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham no. 42.
Alison Smith, Heather Birchall, Jason Rosenfeld 2007 Tate Publishing, London cat. no. 17b / p. 43.


Given by the artist to William Bell Scott; Charles Fairfax Murray.

Associated people

Name Type
Dante Gabriel Rossetti Author

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