Click on the paintings to enhance them.
In 1863, John Everett Millais’ My First Sermon went—using the terminology of the internet—viral. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury was impressed with the work:
Still, Art has, and ever will have, a high and noble mission to fulfill. That man, I think is little to be envied who can pass through these rooms and go forth without being in some sense a better and happier man…when our spirits are touched by the playfulness, the innocence, the purity and may I not add (pointing to Millais’ picture of MY FIRST SERMON) the piety of childhood.*
Although the Archbishop’s reaction to Millais’ follow-up, My Second Sermon of 1864, is unrecorded. Would he have appreciated the artist’s sense of humor?
Millais immortalized his third child Effie (one of 8 children) who would be considered kindergarten age today. A founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Millais had scandalized proper Victorian society just eight years before, when he had wed her mother, also named Effie. whose marriage with his friend art critic John Ruskin had recently been annulled. Their turbulent love triangle has fascinated stage and movie audiences, from the 1912 silent film The Love of John Ruskin to Effie, with Emma Thompson, which could be released this spring or summer.
John Everett Millais (1829-1896), My First Sermon, 1863, oil?, Guildhall Art Gallery, London, UK.
John Everett Millais, My Second Sermon, 1864, oil on canvas, Guildhall Art Gallery, London, UK.
Quote is from The Life and Letters of John Everett Millais, President of the Royal Academy by his son John Guille Millais
The above image is used solely for educational purposes.