Wilkie Collins

1 portrait on display in Room 24 at the National Portrait Gallery

Wilkie Collins, by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt, 1850 - NPG 967 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Wilkie Collins

by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
oil on panel, 1850
10 1/2 in. x 7 in. (267 mm x 178 mm)
Purchased, 1894
Primary Collection
NPG 967


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  • Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt (1829-1896), Painter and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 39 portraits, Sitter associated with 70 portraits.

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On 25 August 1894 George Scharf, the Director of the Gallery, wrote to Millais, who was then a Trustee of the Gallery, to say how sad he was that he had not been able to attend the meeting on the previous Thursday when the trustees had acquired Millais' portrait of Carlyle. He added that, 'Curiously enough, at the last moment before the meeting, a small portrait of Wilkie Collins attributed also to your pencil, was submitted to the Trustees. It represents Collins with a tremendous forehead, wearing spectacles and the face turned in three-quarters to the spectator's left. His raised hands are joined, palm to palm and fingers very flexible. Do you remember painting such a portrait?' Millais did indeed remember it, particularly the great bump on the sitter's forehead, but was more concerned by the discolouration owing to the 'nasty brown varnish'. It is an atmospheric portrait, intense and private, as befitted the author of The Woman in White' and The Moonstone.

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