The Boyhood of Raleigh

The Boyhood of Raleigh Sir John Everett Millais (1871) Tate Gallery photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Boyhood of Raleigh
Sir John Everett Millais (1871)
Tate Gallery
photo from Wikimedia Commons

When Quiggins arrives at Sillery’s party, the host asks Mark Members to make room for him on the sofa. Members “drew away his legs, hitherto stretched the length of the sofa, and brought his knees right up to his chin, clasping his hands around them in the position shown in …The Boyhood of Raleigh. (QU 174/179)” This picture by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) was a Victorian reminiscence of the great age of British discovery. Supposedly, sailors’ tales that Raleigh heard as a boy inspired him to undertake his famous voyages. The other young boy in the picture is his brother.  Millais’ painting was widely reproduced; a copy hung in the nursery of a furnished house where Jenkins once lived with his parents. The young Raleigh in the picture is wide-eyed, absorbed in the tale; Members, on the other hand, “regarded Quiggins with misgiving.”

Millais was a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. but by the time he painted The Boyhood of Raleigh, he was more influenced by Old Masters. He painted The Boyhood on location at Budleigh Salterton, near Raleigh’s birthplace, using his sons as models. Millais was a member of the Royal Academy, serving as its president briefly in the year of his death.

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