In 1985 the most brilliant young painter of Victorian England, John Everett Millais, travelled to Scotland with the country's leading art critic, John Ruskin and his young wife Euphemia (Effie). While in Scotland, the artist was to paint the critic's portrait. But the marriage was built on vital secrets, and the events that followed became both the most famous love story, and the most famous scandal, to involve a young woman, an author and an artist in nineteenth century England.

Still we do not know extactly 'what happened in the Highlands' - or in London afterwards. The Subject of a Portrait recreates those dilemmas. It catches the excitement of watching an artist, torn by conflicts, produce a great painting. A young wife must change the foundations of her life - and of herself. And a great critic gains revolutionary insights at the cost of his personal disaster. The figure 'John' is a new creation in fiction.

 

About the author:

John Harvey is a life fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He is the author of award winning fiction and non-fiction, working primarily at the interface of literary and visual culture. He now lives in Greece.

The Subject of a Portrait

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