Sir John Everett Millais Bt. PRA, Sketches of heads, soldiers and tigers

Sketches of heads, soldiers and tigers, 1838 or later

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

RA Collection: Art

As a child, Millais was a prolific and talented sketcher, drawing from life, from imagination and from engravings. His unusually supportive parents were so enthusiastic about his abilities that they moved from Jersey to London so that he could train as an artist. In 1838 Millais began his formal art education at Henry Sass's Academy in Bloomsbury, where he first learned to draw 'from the flat' (in outline) before studying Greek and Roman sculptures and casts in the British Museum.

In December 1840, at the age of 11, he became the youngest ever student to attend the Royal Academy Schools. Like his peers, he first enrolled in the 'Antique' School to perfect his technique of drawing from sculptures and casts. During the 1840s and 50s students at the RA Schools usually carried out drawings from the antique in pencil or chalk on light coloured paper, as several of these examples indicate. Shading was effected using the stump (a tightly rolled piece of paper or leather) to spread the pencil or chalk. William Holman Hunt recalled meeting the young Millais in the British Museum in 1843. Millais told him: 'I like white paper just now. You see I sketch the lines in with charcoal, and when I go over with chalk I rub in the whole with wash leather, take out the lights with bread and work up the shadows till its finished'.

All objects in this group

Object details

1838 or later
Object type
Place of Publication
United Kingdom
Pencil and watercolour on cream wove paper
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Mary, Lady Millais 1945


Sketches of heads, soldiers and tigers

328 mm x 485 cm


Figure from the equestrian monument on the Monte Cavallo, Rome

485 mm x 328 mm

return to start

Start exploring the RA Collection

read more
  • Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
  • Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
    Our Collection is a record of them.
Start exploring