Sir John Everett Millais Bt. PRA, Arthur Hughes, portrait study for 'The Proscribed Royalist'

Arthur Hughes, portrait study for 'The Proscribed Royalist', 1852

Sir John Everett Millais Bt. PRA (1829 - 1896)

RA Collection: Art

In Millais’ painting The Proscribed Royalist, a Royalist fleeing from the English Civil War is seen hiding in a tree, kissing the hand of a Puritan woman who gives him bread. This preparatory drawing is for the head of the Royalist who looks up to his protector.

Millais often used friends and relatives as models for figures in his paintings. Arthur Hughes, then a student at the RA, recalled meeting Millais in the Academy library. Millais asked him to 'sit…for a head in his picture, 'The Proscribed Royalist '. I went and sat 5 or 6 times. He painted me in a small back room on the 2nd floor of the Gower Street house'.

Many of Millais's early imaginative sketches reveal a schoolboy fascination with the English Civil War and the heavily romanticised clash between Roundheads and Cavaliers. In the late 1830s and early 1840s the young artist used this turbulent era as the setting for some of his earliest compositions including 'News of the Defeat of the Royalists', 'Woman Presenting a Petition to a Cavalier' and a scene from Sir Walter Scott's Peveril of the Peak painted in 1841.

A decade later, he returned to this favourite childhood theme with 'The Proscribed Royalist' (1852-3; Private collection), depicting a Puritan girl helping a fugitive Royalist. However, this constitutes a rare example of a Civil War subject in Millais's later work.

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Object details

Arthur Hughes, portrait study for 'The Proscribed Royalist'
Object type
Place of Publication
United Kingdom
Pencil on cream wove paper

250 mm x 175 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Mary, Lady Millais 1945
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