The Woodland Glade

Signed and dated 1895 lower left
Watercolor and gouache on paper
Image size: 21 3/4 x 17 3/8 inches (55.3 x 44.2 cm)
Pre-Raphaelite style frame

The Maas Gallery, London
J. X. Reynolds & Co., Ltd., London
Private collection

William Henry Millais was closely associated with the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He sketched extensively from nature in the early 1850s.

Millais was a draughtsman for wood engravings and a watercolourist. He was the elder brother of John Everett Millais. Millais worked at Farnham, specialising in landscape paintings.

The little that is known of Millais’s elder brother is gleaned from incidental references in J. G. Millais’s life of his father. In the early 1850s the two brothers were much together: William was one of the party at Ewell in the summer of 1851, along with his brother, Holman Hunt and Charles Collins, and two years later accompanied his brother to Scotland.

His work is relatively scarce, but a good proportion of it consists of landscapes views on Exmoor. Millais made at least two trips to Exmoor sketching and painting on both occasions. In 1857 he executed a spectacular panorama of the Valley of Rocks near Lynton which was included in Tate Britain’s Pre-Raphaelite Vision: Truth to Nature in 2004.

In his account of the Millais household at the time when he was acting as model for ‘The Proscribed Royalist’ (J. G. Millais, i. pp. 172 ff.), Arthur Hughes refers to William Millais’s “picturesque but somewhat restless individuality”, and adds that “his forte was watercolour landscapes, exquisitely drawn” – a judgement confirmed by the present drawing. He exhibited landscapes in the Royal Academy in 1852-3, 1876, and in 1890-3.

Yale Centre for British Art
Royal Scottish Academy of Art
Calderdale Art Gallery
Basildon Park, National Trust
Cleveland Art Gallery, USA