Her Answer – Fine Art Friday

Yes, 1877


Yes or No

Last week I highlighted Sir John Everett Millais’ print The Boyhood of Raleigh.  To my great delight Sir John Everett Millais keeps popping up on my horizon.  I just finished Anthony Trollope’s book The Small House at Allington; Millais illustrated the book when it was first published serially in a magazine, but it is difficult to find a book with all of Millais’ illustrations. 

Trollope’s words about Millais’ illustrations, from his Autobiography:

Writers of novels know well–and so ought readers of novels to have learned–that there are two modes of illustrating, either of which may be adopted equally by a bad and by a good artist.  To which class Mr. Millais belongs I need not say; but, as a good artist, it was open to him simply to make a pretty picture, or to study the work of the author from whose writing he was bound to take his subject. 

I have too often found that the former alternative has been thought to be the better, as it certainly is the easier method.  An artist will frequently dislike to subordinate his ideas to those of any author, and will sometimes be too idle to find out what those ideas are.  But this artist was neither proud nor idle.  In every figure that he drew it was his object to promote the views of the writer whose work he had undertaken to illustrate, and he never spared himself any pains in studying that work, so as to enable himself to do so.


2 thoughts on “Her Answer – Fine Art Friday

  1. Thank you for sharing these lovely paintings and especially for sharing Trollope’s words…I try not to overspriritualize things, but I couldn’t help but see parallels to how I ‘illustrate’ my Author’s book — too often, I try to live just a “pretty picture” or will resist the need to “subordinate” my ideas to His — I like thinking about this in Trollope’s words — to remind myself that I am here to “promote the views of the [Writer] and should never “spare [myself] any pains in studying that work, so as to enable [myself] to do so” — thanks for prompting this reminder! 

  2. I think DD#2 would make a good illustrator because she is so intuitive.  This is definitely a gift….and sometimes it is painfully obvious when the illustrator has NOT read the material.Fun FAF.

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