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A Momentary Vision once Befell Young Millais.. 4 ¼ x 6 ½ inches. Plate 3 from Max Beerbohm, Rossetti and His Circle. Click on image to enlarge it.

Beerbohm here mockingly repeats the common charge that Millais, the most talented of the original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, had sold out. He does so in three elements of this caricature: First, he depicts the young painter engaged in an early characteristically daring, if awkward, attempt to combine fantasy and naturalism in Ferdinand and Ariel, a work illustrating Shakespeare's Tempest. Second, he shows the young painter catching sight of his future self after he had become a member of the philistine squierarchy devoted to hunting, fishing, and high society. Third, by placing the little girl on the elder Millais's lap, he emphasizes the painter's later pandering to popular sentiment with paintings, such as Bubbles and other works containing charming babies or young girls.

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]


Beerbohm, Max. Rossetti and His Circle. London: William Heinemann, 1922.

Last modified 19 May 2021