Retribution by John Everett Millais Bt PRA (1829-96). 1854. Source: Millais, facing I, 226

Retribution, like Ford Maddox Brown's Take Your Son, Sir, depicts the opposite of the kind of scene found in the first panel of Augustus Egg's Past and Present (1858) and Richard Redgrave's famous The Outcast (1851): here the adulterous man, not the woman, is punished by the revelation of an illicit relationship. His wife reacts angrily when she learns that he has a mistress who has born him two children. The young girl's grabbing his leg (which suggests she knows him well), the angry expression on the wife's face, and the man's refusal to look anyone in the face reveals that he is the guilty party. Note the details of the gloves in his top hat and the symbolic fallen flowers [GPL].

Scanned image and text by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) either link your document to this URL or include it in a print document.]


Millais, John Guile. The Life and Letters of John Everett Millais, President of the Royal Academy. 2 vols. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1899.

Last modified 16 September 2004