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THIS BOOK 

IS FROM 

THE LIBRARY OF 

Rev. James Leach 











Digitized by tine Internet Arcinive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Toronto 



http://www.arcliive.org/details/brothersinartstuOOshre 



BROTHERS IN ART 

STUDIES IN 

WILLIAM HOLMAN-HUNT, O.M., D.C.L. 

AND 

JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, Bart., D.C.L., P.R.A. 



BROTHERS IN ART 



STUDIES IN 

WILLIAM HOLMAN-HUNT, O.M., D.C.L 

AND 

JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, Bart., D.C.L.. P.RA. 



WITH 
VERSE INTERPRETATIONS 



ILLUSTRATED WITH 

TWENTY-ONE REPRODUCTIONS 

IN PHOTOGRAVURE 



London 
THE EPWORTH PRESS 

J. ALFRED SHARP 



ERRATA. 

Page io. — ' Christ in the House of His Parents ' is reproduced 
by permission of Messrs. W. A. Mansell & Co. 
from their photograph of an engraving. 

Page 68. — For Shotover read Thames Ditton. 

Page hi. — For Maiden read Kingston. 

Page 154. — 'Christ in the House of His Parents,' lent by the 
owner, Mrs. Beer, is at present exhibited at the 
National Gallery of British Art, and not in the 
15irniingham Art Gallerv. 



BROTHERS IN ART 



STUDIES IN 

WILLIAM HOLMAN-HUNT, O.M., D.C.L 

AND 

JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, Bart., D.C.L., RR.A. 



WITH 
VERSE INTERPRETATIONS 



BY 

H. W. SHREWSBURY 

author of 
" Visions of an Artist," etc. 



ILLUSTRATED WITH 

TWENTY-ONE REPRODUCTIONS 

IN PHOTOGRAVURE 



TLon6on 
THE EPWORTH PRESS 

J. ALFRED SHARP 



;\ 



First Edition, 1920 

JUL 1 7 1967 



JOHN LEWIS PATON, ESQ., M.A., 

high master of the 
Manchester Grammar School, 

this book is dedicated as a tribute 

of esteem from one of many parents 

who owe to him an immense debt 

of gratitude 



PREFACE 

Originality,' an epigrammatic author has said, ' is 
the art of judicious selection.' To that extent this book 
is original. It is the story of two artists whose friend- 
ship began in boyhood and lasted through hfe. Their 
united labours, in face of the utmost opposition and 
discouragement, resulted in a new departure in the 
history of British Art, and profoundly influenced a 
few contemporary workers and, in ever-growing numbers, 
the artists of subsequent generations. The world 
recognizes to-day as masterpieces paintings that, when 
first exhibited, were assailed with abuse and ridicule. 
The story of William Holman-Hunt and John Everett 
Millais is told with great wealth of detail in Holman- 
Hunt's most fascinating volumes, Pre-Raphaelitism and 
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and in the Life and Letters 
of Sir fohn Everett Millais by his son, J. G. Millais. 
Other books, pamphlets, and Press articles yield further 
information. A second edition of Pre-Raphaelitism, 
edited by Mrs. Hohnan-Hunt and published by Messrs. 
Chapman & Hall in 1913, contains much additional 
matter of the greatest interest, and is enriched by por- 
traits of the many celebrated men and women with 
whom the artist came into touch. These noble volumes 
should find a place in the library of every lover of the art 
and literature of the nineteenth century. To these 
sources I refer those who desire to master the full story 

7 



8 PREFACE 

of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, a subject of absorb- 
ing interest. But since there are many who have no 
idea, or distorted ideas, of the story, and little leisure or 
opportunity for studying it, my aim is to interweave 
the life-history of the two artists so closely associated 
in life-long comradeship, to trace the evolution of some 
of their most famous paintings, and grouping in pairs 
pictures which present some affinity or contrast of 
thought, to interweave the life-work, not less than the 
life-story, of these brothers in art. 

I am indebted to Mrs. Hohnan-Hunt for her sympathetic 
help, and to the owners of copyrights for their permission, 
acknowledged opposite the hst of illustrations, to re- 
produce the pictures in this volume. 

The poem written for each picture is intended to give 
in brief compass the key-note to its interpretation. 

H. W. Shrewsbury. 

September lo, 1920. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 
I. 



II. 
III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 
VIII. 

IX. 
X. 

XI. 



BROTHERS IN ART : THE LIFE-STORY OF W. HOL- 
MAN-HUNT, O.M., D.C.L., AND SIR JOHN EVERETT 
MILLAIS, BART., D.C.L., P.R.A. 

DEATH VERSUS DISHONOUR .... 
' Claudio and Isabella.' ' The Huguenot.' 



LOVE'S HAZARDS 

' The Two Gentlemen of Verona.' ' Ophelia.' 

HEEDLESS YOUTH AND ALERT OLD AGE . 
' The Hireling Shepherd.' ' The North- West Passage.' 

PERIL AND RESCUE 

' Strayed Sheep.' ' The Knight-Errant.' 

PERSUASION VERSUS COERCION . 

' The Light of the World.' ' St. Bartholomew's Day. 

VICTIMS 

' The Scapegoat.' ' The Blind Girl.' 

THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS .... 

' The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple.' ' Christ in 
the House of His Parents.' 

FOREBODINGS 

' The Shadow of Death.' ' The Vale of Rest.' 

THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS .... 
' The Triumph of the Innocents.' ' The Martyr of 
the Solway Firth.' 

THE BEYOND 187 

' Sorrow.' ' Speak, speak ! ' 



15 
61 



73 



87 



99 



127 



143 



157 



171 



Copyrights exist in the pictures {see opposite) or in photographs of them. 
Permission to publish the reproductions in this volume is hereby grate- 
fully acknowledged as follows : 

To Messrs. Thos. Agnew & Sons and the Corporation of Man- 
chester for ' The Shadow of Death ' and ' The Hireling Shepherd,' 
by Holman-Hunt : 

To the National Gallery and the Corporation of Liverpool for 
' The Triumph of the Innocents,' by Holman-Hunt ; 

To the Corporation of Liverpool for ' The Martyr of the Solway 
Firth,' by Millais ; 

To the Art Gallery Committee of the Corporation of Birmingham 

for ' The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple ' and ' The Two Gentlemen 
of Verona,' by Holman-Hunt, and ' The Blind Girl,' by Millais ; 

To Mrs. Craik for ' Strayed Sheep ' and ' Sorrow,' by Holman- 
Hunt ; 

To Messrs. W. A. Mansell & Co. for ' Claudio and Isabella,' ' The 
Light of the World,' and ' The Scapegoat,' by Holman-Hunt ; and for the 
Uffizi Gallery portrait of Sir J. E. Millais, and Millais' s 'Huguenot,' 
' The North-West Passage,' ' The Knight-Errant,' ' St. Bartholomew's 
Day ' and ' Speak, speak I ' ; 

To Mr. Frederick Hollyer for his portrait of Holman-Hunt, and 
for ' Ophelia ' and ' The Vale of Rest,' by Millais 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



1. PORTRAITS OF THE ARTISTS .... 

2. ' CLAUDIO AND ISABELLA ' (Holman-Hunt) 

3. ' THE HUGUENOT ' (Millais) .... 

4. ' THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA ' (Holman 

Hunt) ......... 

5. ' OPHELIA ' (Millais) 

6. ' THE HIRELING SHEPHERD ' (Holman-Hunt) . 

7. ' THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE ' (Millais) . 

8. ' STRAYED SHEEP ' (Holman-Hunt) 

9. ' THE KNIGHT-ERRANT ' (Millais) 

10. * THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD ' (Holman-Hunt) . 

11. 'MERCY: ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY' (Millais) 

12. ' THE SCAPEGOAT ' (Holman-Hunt) 

13. ' THE BLIND GIRL ' (Millais) .... 

14. ' THE FINDING OF THE SAVIOUR IN THE TEMPLE 

(Holman-Hunt) ....... 

15. ' CHRIST IN THE HOUSE OF HIS PARENTS 

(Millais) ........ 

16. ' THE SHADOW OF DEATH ' (Holman-Hunt) 

17. ' THE VALE OF REST ' (Millais) .... 

18. ' THE TRIUMPH OF THE INNOCENTS ' (Holman 

Hunt) ........ 

19. ' THE MARTYR OF THE SOLWAY FIRTH ' (Millais) 

20. • SORROW ' (Holman-Hunt) 

21. ' SPEAK, SPEAK ! ' (Millais) .... 



page 

13 

59 
65 

71 
77 

85 
91 

97 
103 

109 

119 

125 
135 

141 

149 
155 
163 

169 

177 
185 
I9X 



WILLIAM HOLMAN-HUNT, O.M., D.C.L. 
SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, D.C.L., P.R.A. 

Brothers in art, in more than art close brothers, 
Kin souls, inspired by one consuming passion 
To break the tyrant bonds of age-long fashion, 

The reign of rigid rule that, ruthless, smothers 
All naturalness and simple sense of beauty 
Beneath dogmatic formulae of duty. 

How the world poured, on that now distant morning. 
When your work challenged at its first unveiling 
Art's cherished canons — truculently railing — 

How the world poured on you its wrath and scorning ! 
And strove, but vainly strove, to have you branded 
As derelicts on false ideals stranded. 

But ye toiled on,, despising mere convention. 

Castor and Pollux of your firmament. 

In loving labour each to each anent. 
Toiled on, to win at first but grudging mention, 

And then to shine, your message understood. 

Twin stars of an immortal brotherhood. 



13 



CHAPTER I 

BROTHERS IN ART: 

The Life-Story of W. Holman-Hunt and Sir John 
Everett Millais 

Artists of acknowledged powers, with pictures ex- 
hibited in the Royal Academy when their painters 
were still boys only ; high ideals of art at that early 
age, ideals contrary to the accepted canons of the day 
and bitterly opposed ; close comradeship in toil, so close 
that they even worked upon each other's paintings ; 
years of uphill struggling to win a victory for their 
principles, and years of terrible poverty ; undaunted 
courage and unwavering perseverance; tardy recogni- 
tion and ultimate triumph over all obstacles, — this sums 
up in brief one of the most remarkable stories in the 
history of ancient or modem art. 

WiUiam Holman-Hunt was bom on April 2, 1827, at 
Wood Street, Cheapside. His father was the manager 
of a warehouse. The family history dated back to an 
ancestor who fought under Cromwell, passed over at 
the Restoration to the Continent, served the Protestant 
cause, and returned with the army of WiUiam HI. The 
family property had meanwhile been alienated, and 
the soldier turned trader. William Hunt possessed 
artistic feehng to a maurked degree. He was ready with 

15 



l6 BROTHERS IN ART 

his pencil, something of a colourist, and he filled scrap- 
books with sketches and pictures, about which he had 
many a story to tell. But his business instincts came 
first. Art might well occupy odd moments as a hobby, 
but art as a profession he held in abhorrence. He did 
not fail to notice as a dangerous tendency that even in 
babyhood his child found in a pencil the toy of toys. 
Almost from the time of his christening at St. Giles, 
Cripplegate, the scene of Cromwell's marriage and 
Milton's burial, he found his chief joy in making pencil 
markings, and at the age of four his supreme delight 
was to watch his father colour theatrical prints for him, 
and he begged and received a gift of paints and a brush. 
They became liis idols. His first great childish trouble 
was the loss of this brush. He made another with a 
bit of chip and a lock of his own hair, and, fondlj^ hoping 
that the substitute would not be noticed, presented it 
with a ' Thank you. Father,' and trembled at the frown 
it occcLsioned and the puzzled exclamation, ' What's 
this ! ' The episode ended in laughter and embraces, 
but it strengthened the father's purpose to give the lad 
a thorough business training and to curb any undue 
fondness for the brush and paints. The attempt led 
to a struggle that lasted through boyhood, and ended 
in the boy's triumph. For from his fifth year, in intervals 
of play, pencil and paper were always in use to copy 
prints or record impressions. The removal of the ware- 
house to Dyers Court, Aldermanbury, at the back of 
the Guildhall, and the sending of the lad here and there 
all over the city with the porter, gave him an acquaint- 
ance with many quaint comers, and provided much 
material for his imagination to act upon. A great 



BROTHERS IN ART 17 

prize fell to him in the discovery of a bundle of pencils, 
a piece of cartridge paper, and a print of Britannia. 
This he set himself to copy, laying the paper upon the 
OEik counter in his favourite comer of the warehouse. 
' Is this little boy a part of your stock-in-trade ? ' in- 
quired a Manchester buyer who found him thus employed. 
The father grimly rephed that such occupation was not 
conducive to business, but that it had the merit of 
keeping the boy quiet for hours. 

At seven years of age he went with his father to call 
upon an artist who was painting for him a picture of 
Heme Bay, The child stared in deUght and wonder 
at two large canvases, one of which represented the 
burning of the Houses of Parliament. He begged to 
be allowed to remain to watch the artist. Through 
a window upon the stairs he looked on with breathless 
interest until darkness fell, and in the warehouse he 
reproduced so far as memory served, and grieving that 
he had no glory of colour, pencil sketches of the artist's 
pictures. These indications of the bent of the boy's 
mind were disconcerting. He was sent early to a board- 
ing-school. Drawing materials were allowed, but with 
the strict warning that drawing was for recreation only 
— proper for that ; but a miserable thing if it went 
farther. The lad's eagerness only deepened. 

At twelve his father put the plain question, ' What 
do you want to be ? ' The answer was as prompt as 
it was decided, ' I'm determined to be a painter.' It 
was received in ominous silence. There seemed to be 
only one course — to put the lad into a business situation 
that would allow no spare moments for the indulgence 
of his leanings towards art. But at a hint of this he 

B 



i8 BROTHERS IN ART 

forestalled his father's purpose and engaged himself 
as copying-clerk to an estate agent. Most fortunately 
he found more than the needed leisure in this employ- 
ment. His employer proved to be an amateur artist. 
He gave the lad most welcome encouragement, 
and pleaded with the father to remove his ban. His 
arguments prevailed. Reluctantly and with grave 
forebodings the father consented to the young artist's 
desire to the extent of allowing him to take his own 
course. The lad was not only a bom artist, he had a 
passion for music also ; but he abandoned the violin to 
secure the greater tolerance for his pursuit of art. 

The way was now open. The first use Holman-Hunt 
made of his Uberty was to visit the National Gallery. 
That was a day of glowing expectations. His first 
examination of the pictures puzzled him. ' I want to 
see,' he said to the oiSicial, ' the really grand paintings 
of the great masters.' The official, not less puzzled, 
replied, ' Here they are around you,' and pointed to 
' Bacchus and Ariadne ' as one of the finest specimens 
existing of the finest colourist in the world. ' Can't you 
see its beauty, sir ? ' ' Not much, I must confess,' 
was the astounding answer. ' It is as brown as my 
grandmother's painted tea-tray.' In that moment, 
though as yet the lad knew it not, the first step was 
taken towards a new departure in British Art. 

Alas ! dark clouds again threatened the young artist's 
budding hopes. His father's fears revived. Liberty 
to visit the National Gallery was curtailed. Once 
again a place was sought for him in a strict business 
house, where all his aspirations would be quenched, and 
once again the boy's indomitable spirit (he was only 



BROTHERS IN ART 19 

sixteen) led him to anticipate his father's action by 
securing for himself an engagement at the London 
agency of Richard Cobden's Manchester business. Here 
he painted the panels of the room in which he worked 
with enlarged pictures in oil from illustrations to Dickens 
and Shakespeare, and he painted also original designs 
upon millboard. His odd moments were devoted to 
books on art, and his Sundays to nature-study. There 
were no free Saturday afternoons at that period, no 
Bank hohdays. Once only in four years he had a whole 
afternoon for himself, and he spent it at the Royal 
Academy Exhibition. 

The young painter's brush released him from the 
exasperating fetters of business Ufe. He painted the 
portrait of an old Jewess, an orange-seller, and pinned 
it up in the office to dry. It was a striking likeness. 
His master was highly amused, and brought friends in 
to show it to them. They begged to have it to show 
to others. The lad consented — only his father must 
not see it. But his father heard of it. The result was 
serious remonstrance and a prolonged struggle. Removal 
to a stricter place was threatened ; harder conditions 
of work were imposed. The young artist gave notice 
to leave, and absolutely refused an offer of increased 
salary. To his father he protested that, though he 
was justified in controlling a boy of twelve and a half, 
that right was hardly justified at sixteen and a half ; 
that if he were kept at business tiU twenty-one his chance 
of becoming an artist would be greatly lessened ; and, 
in short, that his mind was made up and he would meet 
any further opposition by enlisting in the army. His 
insistence won the day. His father secured for him 



20 BROTHERS IN ART 

permission to draw in the Sculpture Department of the 
British Museum, and he secured for himself a room for 
painting in the City. Commissions promised by 
enthusiastic admirers of his portrait of the old orange- 
seller were not given. Others were given, but the work 
done was not paid for. He made a scanty and precarious 
living by doing all manner of odd jobs. Three days in 
the week he spent in drawing at the British Museum 
and two days at the National Gallery. A farther step 
in advance was taken when, at his father's request. 
Sir Richard Westmacott procured his admission to the 
Academy Schools, and supplied a card of admission to 
the lectures. Thus in his seventeenth year Holman- 
Hunt set his foot on the first rung of the ladder that 
led to ultimate success. But his next experience was 
discouraging. Twice he sent in drawings for admission 
as a probationer to the Royal Academy, and each time 
he failed. The second failure renewed all his father's 
misgivings. Could not the lad recognize that his time 
and energy were being wasted ? He pleaded for another 
six months, and then, if he failed again, he would give 
in. But, beheving that his work called for greater care, 
he redoubled his efforts. This was the critical period 
in his career. He required sympathy and a helping 
hand. Both were forthcoming. The needed friend 
was not found in a professor or patron, but in a boy of 
fifteen, a boy in a black velvet tunic and belt, ^vith shining 
bright brown hair curling over a white turned-down 
collar. His name was already familiar. Holman-Hunt 
had heard of him three years before, and just recently 
he had seen him receive the Academy Antique Medal. 
This boy, passing through the British Museum Sculpture 



BROTHERS IN ART 21 

Gallery, paused a moment to examine Holman-Hunt's 
work. Later in the same day Holman-Hunt went into 
the Elgin room to glance at the boy's work. He turned 
round. ' I say, aren't you the fellow doing that good 
work in No. XHI room ? You ought to be at the 
Academy.' A comparison of ages and a talk about 
methods of work followed. 'Send that drawing in,' 
said the newly made friend, ' and don't you be down 
in the mouth.' It was wonderfully cheering ! The 
rejected candidate's third attempt succeeded, and he 
gained a student's place at the Academy. Thus began 
the friendship between William HoLman-Hunt and John 
Everett MiUais. 

The early life of MiUais had run a very different course. 
He was bom at Southampton on June 8, 1829, His 
father, John WiUiam Millais, was the descendant of 
an old Norman family long resident in Jersey. He 
was himself a capable artist and an excellent musician. 
He had married a young widow, Mrs. Hodgkinson. It 
was a case of love at first sight and hfe-long comrade- 
ship. John Everett v/as the youngest son. When 
he was four years old the family returned to Jersey. 
MiUais, Uke Hohnan-Hunt, showed a precocious talent 
for drawing in babyhood. He would lie for hours on 
the floor contentedly at work with pencil and paper, 
covering sheet after sheet with aU sorts of figures. At 
a very early age he was a keen naturalist, drawing, whilst 
stiU an infant, birds, butterflies, anything. But, unlike 
Hohnan-Hunt, he was steadily encouraged in this by 
his parents. His mother, his best friend, undertook 
the chief part of his education, especiaUy in history, 
poetry, and literature, adding to these knowledge of 



22 BROTHERS IN ART 

costume and armour. As a schoolboy he was a failure. 
When thrashed he bit his master's hand, and he was 
sent back to his mother's training. He was amenable 
to love but not to law, and under the influence of a wise 
and gracious mother he developed the sunny disposition 
that characterized him through life. 

His natural genius matured rapidly. It was fostered 
by Phihp Raoul Lempriere, the Seigneur of Rosel 
Manor. \Mien six years old the family went for two 
years to Dinan, in Brittany. At this early age the 
child made, covertly, a sketch of a big drum-major. 
Two officers surprised him in the act. They took the 
sketch and showed it in the barracks as the work of a 
boy of six. In response to bets that it was not, they 
brought in the boy, and he made there and then a still 
better sketch of the Colonel smoking a cigar. On return- 
ing to Jersey he received instruction from the best 
drawing-master in the island. He soon had to confess 
that he could teach liim nothing more, and recom- 
mended his father to take him to London. The advice 
was acted upon, and the boy was introduced to Sir 
Martin Archer-Shee, President of the Royal Academy. 
To G. F. Watts's father he had given as his verdict, ' I 
can see no reason wh}' your son should take up thp pro- 
fession of art.' To Millais's father he said, ' Better 
make him a chimney-sweep than an artist.' But when 
the boy's drawings were shown, especially when there 
and then he sketched for the President the fight of Hector 
with Achilles, the great Academician was amazed, and 
reversed his judgement. It now became a plain duty 
to fit the boy for his manifest vocation. Permission 
was secured for him to sketch in the British Museum. 



BROTHERS IN ART 23 

In the winter of 1838, when still only nine years of age, 
he entered the preparatory school, at Bloomsbury, of 
Henry Sass, a noted portrait-painter. Here he nearly 
came to an untimely end. A big bully, jealous of the 
boy's success, hung him, head downward, out of a window, 
his feet tied to the iron window-guard. Happily, he 
was seen and rescued in time. The bully failed utterly 
as an artist. In later years, as a professional model, 
he posed frequently for Millais. Eventually the model 
took to drink, and came to a bad end. 

At nine and a half Millais won his first medal — the 
silver medal of the Society of Arts — for a large draw- 
ing of the Battle of Bannockbum. H.R.H. the Duke 
of Sussex distributed the prizes. The Secretary called 
for ' Mr. John Everett MiUais.' The boy of nine and a 
half, and small for his age, dressed in white plaid tunic, 
black belt and buckle, short white friUed trousers, white 
socks, patent leather shoes, white frilled collar, and 
bright necktie, his head covered with golden curls, 
came forward. The Duke glanced over the boy's head 
expectantly awaiting the coming of the recipient ; and 
it had to be explained to hun that ' Mr. John Everett 
Millais ' was standing just below, patiently waiting for 
his medal. We were ' mad on art,' said his brother 
Wilham. ' We knew every picture in the National 
Gallery by heart.' The brothers made for themselves 
a toy National Gallery out of a large deal box, repro- 
ducing the pictures on pieces of paper, in size from a 
visiting-card to an envelope. 

At ten MiUais was admitted as a student to the Royal 
Academy, the youngest student that had ever entered. 
In the next six years he carried off every possible honour, 



24 BROTHERS IN ART 

including the silver medal for drawing from the antique, 
at the presentation of which Holman-Hunt saw him 
for the first time, and at seventeen the gold medal for 
an oil painting of 'The Benjamites Seizing their Brides.' 
The acquaintance struck up between the two boy- 
painters rapidly deepened into a firm friendship. In 
experience, physique, temperament, each was com- 
plementary to the other. Holman-Hunt had fought 
from earliest years against incessant discouragement. 
He was strong and hardy, but by natural disposition 
introspective. Millais was radiantly optimistic, for, 
though frail in body, from his earliest years he had 
known nothing but lo\dng encouragement. These very 
differences strengthened the bonds of comradeship, and 
their friendship became still closer when they found 
that in one thing — their ideals of art — they held views 
in common. For these boys were thinkers. Akeady 
they were experiencing the same dissatisfaction with 
the art of the day, the outcome of centuries of con- 
ventionalism, and were feeling their way to modes of 
painting more in harmony with the teaching of nature. 
Careful study of sculptures and paintings by many 
masters had led Holman-Hunt to ponder deeply on the 
history and philosophy of art. He was asking himself 
whether he could accept the verdict of the world about 
the old masters, and what position the British School 
held, a School ' which had been in its course so pre- 
eminently endowed with genius in individuals, but 
which had proved itself unable to hand on its teaching, 
and from the first had been impatient of submitting to 
that course of strict and childlike training which in 
earlier history had always preceded the greatest art ' 



BROTHERS IN ART 25 

A weighty conclusion this for a boy of seventeen to 
arrive at ! From visitors to the British Museum he 
had gained much useful information and many secrets 
of the craft, but he had not found yet the ' perfect guide.' 
He desired ' the power of undying appeal to the hearts 
of hving men,' and he foimd that the favourite art of 
the day * left the inner self untouched.' There were 
notable painters — Landseer, Etty, Leslie, Colhns, Turner, 
Harvey, Herbert. Their work compelled admiration 
for many excellent features, yet, alas ! as the perfect 
guide there was always the inevitable ' but.' 

Early in their intimacy Millais invited his friend to 
his home at 83 Gower Street. It was a strangely touch- 
ing sight he looked upon in the studio — the mother 
sitting there with her work-basket, the father with his 
violin, and both deeply interested in their son's work. 
To the lad who had only met with discouragement at 
home this seemed enviable indeed, and he came again 
and again to bask in the warmth of this gracious home- 
circle. But in his own family opposition was break- 
ing down. For his sake his father moved to a house 
in Holbom, a large house in the upper part of which 
a room was available for a studio. His attitude had 
become more sympathetic, but financial difficulties 
crippled his power to help. 

Hohnan-Hunt now painted portraits only when com- 
missioned. To produce pictures seemed hopeless. The 
cost of materials, models, and frames was too great for 
his slender resources. His one important picture, a 
subject from Woodstock, remained unsold. He was 
able at this time to return Millais's kindness by rescuing 
him from a bully at the Academy Schools. Millais 



26 BROTHERS IN ART 

himself took a subtler revenge later by painting the 
bully as the churlish brother kicking the dog in his 
picture ' Lorenzo and Isabella.' Increasing intimacy 
led Holman-Hunt to confide the great questions that 
had occupied his thought to Millais. He found, if not 
ready acquiescence, at least an open mind and a readi- 
ness to examine dogmas generally accepted and 
apparently beyond criticism. 

A visit to Ewell, where an uncle and aunt of Holman- 
Hunt occupied the Rectory Farm, led to two pleasant 
results. Millais frequently visited Captain Lempriere, 
who lived in the neighbourhood. The friends met in 
this charming Surrey village and exchanged views on 
many subjects, and the rector of the village commissioned 
Holman-Hunt to make a painting of the old church. 
This commission and the purchase of his Woodstock 
picture for £20 he felt he could apply to painting some- 
thing more in accord with his desire. His previous 
subjects had been determined by consideration for the 
outlay upon models and accessories and the question 
of mere ' saleabihty.' Wliilst deciding upon a subject, 
a fellow student procured for him from Cardinal Wise- 
man the loan for twenty-four hours only of Ruskin's 
Modern Painters. He sat up all night to read it. It 
seemed to have been written expressly for him, and 
passages in the book touched him deeply. At the same 
time he came upon another treasure. From a box 
of books on a second-hand bookstall he picked out a 
battered Keats, a fourpenny worth of pure joy. This 
he shared with Millais, whose enthusiasm kmdled more 
slowly. 

The coming of Millais to his friend's studio swept away 



BROTHERS IN ART 27 

any lingering reserve, and thenceforth the friends could 
speak on the subjects they had most at heart with per- 
fect frankness. They now agreed to take subjects 
from Keats for their next paintings, Holman-Hunt 
choosing ' The Eve of St. Agnes ' (which Millais also took 
up some years later) and ' The Pot of Basil,' and his 
friend ' Lorenzo and Isabella.' A long talk in Millais's 
studio arising out of Holman-Hunt 's difficulty as to 
the treatment of the figure of Christ in a contemplated 
picture of ' Christ and the two Maries ' (a picture com- 
menced then, at seventeen, and completed when the 
painter had turned seventy) led to the enunciation of 
ideas forming in his mind which he declared to be 
' nothing less than irreverent, heretical, and revolu- 
tionary,' and he explained why, winding up by declar- 
ing Millais equally revolutionary (he was painting then 
'Cymon and Iphigenia '). ' You've made living persons, 
not tinted images.' ' I know,' was the retort, ' but 
the more attentively I look at Nature the more I detect 
in it unexpected delights. It's so infinitely better than 
anything I could compose that I can't help following 
it, whatever the consequences may be.' 

Here already was Pre-Raphaelitism ! Old conven- 
tions — faces and limbs aU of one pattern ; an S-shaped 
design for the grouping of the figures in a picture ; com- 
position of the several parts in pyramidal form ; the 
highest light upon the principal figure, and one comer 
left in shadow — all swept aside. 

The Academy' Exhibition was drawing near. Holman- 
Hunt's days were given to portrait-painting to earn a 
living He worked far into and often all through the 
night to finish his picture ' The Eve of St. Agnes.' 



28 BROTHERS IN ART 

In the closing days he took it to MiUais's studio, where 
Millais was working upon his ' Cymon and Iphigenia.' 
The friends toiled hard through the night hours, and 
for the rest of change Holman-Hunt painted draperies 
for Millais, whilst Millais worked upon the figures in 
Holman-Hunt's picture. At the Academy Exhibition 
of 1847, ' Cymon and Iphigenia,' to the chagrin of the 
two friends, was rejected, and ' The Eve of St. Agnes,' 
though accepted, given an indifferent place. Dante 
Gabriel Rossetti praised the picture as the best in the 
Exhibition. No one had painted any subject from 
Keats before. Up to now Rossetti and Holman-Hunt 
had only been on ' nodding terms.' Their common 
enthusiasm for Keats brought them into closer relation- 
ship. Rossetti visited Holman-Hunt's studio, and weary 
of his own master, Ford Madox Brown, who kept him 
for ever ' painting glass bottles,' begged to be taken as 
a pupil. This, not without misgivings, for it involved 
much inconvenience, was agreed to, and Rossetti joined 
Holman-Hunt at his studio as painting-pupil and com- 
panion in August, 1S48. 

The sale of ' The Eve of St. Agnes ' for ^^70 provided the 
young painter, twenty only, with funds to make a serious 
start in life, and he took up next his picture 'Rienzi.' 
His purpose was to paint an out-of-doors picture in 
full sunshine direct on to the canvas, and to let every 
detail be seen. Upon this new experiment in painting 
Holman-Hunt, Millais, and Rossetti agreed. Express- 
ing to Academy students their judgement upon Raphael's 
cartoons, they did full justice to their claim to honour, 
but they condemned ' The Transfiguration ' for ' its 
grandiose disregard of the simplicity of truth, the pompous 



BROTHERS IN ART 29 

posturing of the Apostles, and the unspiritual attitudiniz- 
ing of the Saviour.' They regarded these features as 
a step towards the decadence of Itahan art. ' Then,' 
exclaimed the students, ' you are Pre-RaphaeUtes.' 
This designation was accepted. In Holman-Hunt's 
studio the question of the extension of their numbers 
was discussed. It was agreed to add Woolner, the 
sculptor, WiUiam Rossetti, a writer rather than an artist, 
James Collinson, a genre painter, and F. G. Stephens, 
who later forsook painting for art criticism. These, 
with Holman-Hunt, Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 
formed a band of seven. They had already been dubbed 
Pre-RaphaeHtes, Gabriel suggested the addition of the 
word ' Brotherhood,' and thus the little company became 
the ' Pre-Raphaehte Brotherhood,' for which the mystic 
letters P.R.B. stood, an abbreviation that a little later 
aroused first the utmost curiosity, and then a storm of 
fury. Holman-Hunt became the prior of the brotherhood 
and WiUiam Rossetti its scribe. 

At that same meeting MiUais produced a book of 
engravings of frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa. 
Few of those present had seen before the complete set. 
' The innocent spirit,' says Holman-Himt, ' which had 
directed the intention of the painter was traced point 
after point with the determination that a kindred sim- 
plicity should regulate our own ambition, and we insisted 
that the naive traits of frank expression and unaffected 
grace v/ere what had made Itahan art so essentially 
vigorous and progressive, until the showy followers of 
Michael Angelo had grafted their Dead Sea fruit on to 
the vital tree just when it was bearing its choicest 
autumnal ripeness for the reawakened world.' Turning 



30 BROTHERS IN ART 

from print to print, the little group of seven in 
Holman-Hunt's studio noted carefully that the Campo 
Santo designs were ' remarkable for incident derived 
from the attentive observation of inexhaustible Nature.' 

Those few lines give clearly and briefly the pith of 
Pre-RaphaeUtism. It casts no slur upon the great 
master. It does not condemn him and those who 
came after him merely to exalt those who went before. 
Holman-Hunt was careful in explaining that Pre- 
Raphaelitism, which he did profess, was a very different 
thing from Pre-Raphaelism which he did not profess, 
and that he regarded Raphael in his prime as an artist 
' of most independent and daring course as to con\'en- 
tions.' There was no failure in his career, but the 
prodigahty of his productions and the training of many 
assistants compelled him to lay down rules and manners 
of work. His followers accentuated his poses into 
postures. They caricatured the turns of his heads and 
the lines of his limbs, and their servile travesty of this 
prince of painters is RaphaeUtism ; it is Raphaehsm 
run mad. These traditions, passed on through the 
Bolognese Academy, and introduced into the founda- 
tion of aU later schools, became lethal. They stifled 
the breath of design. ' The name Pre-Raphaelite 
accordingly excludes the influence of such corrupters 
of perfection, even though Raphael, by reason of some 
of his works, be on the list, while it accepts that of his 
more sincere forerunners.' 

The Brotherhood met monthly at each other's studios. 
A journal, under the name of The Germ, was started, 
but it only ran to four issues. It was agreed that the 
letters P.R.B. should be put by the members of the 



BROTHERS IN ART 31 

Brotherhood upon their pictures, but the meaning was 
to be kept strictly secret. Unhappily Dante Rossetti 
let the secret out ; and a rancorous article appeared in 
the Press. The intense curiosity excited when the 
pictures of Holman-Hunt, Millais, and Rossetti were 
seen bearing the mystic letters turned to raging fury 
when their significance was revealed. Here was an 
attack upon the sacred traditions of the Academy, an 
audacious affront put by boys upon grey-bearded artists ! 
Rossetti withdrew when the storm broke, the other 
members of the Brotherhood melted away, but for 
years Holman-Himt and Millais suffered cruelly from 
the prejudice and hostihty excited against them, and 
the more so that they had no quarrel with the 
Academy, and no desire except to promote the highest 
principles in art. Stephens, one of the seven, by a series 
of bitter articles which did him no harm, involved the 
two painters in such obloquy that for a time it almost 
doomed their work, brought them to the verge 
of despair, and quite destroyed their hope of opening 
up a new school of British art. The Brotherhood, as 
a tangible society, came to nothing, but the principles 
which guided the two artists, and guided them to the 
end, won recognition Httle by httle. At the close of 
their hfe their triumph was complete, and the artists 
who had been influenced by their work were to be num- 
bered by scores. If they had not created a new school 
of artists, they had set their stamp upon British art 
at large. 

The next few years were full of continuous hard work 
and of many privations. For economy's sake Holman- 
Hunt gave up meat. He was ready to go to great 



32 BROTHERS IN ART 

lengths in self-denial, but upon one thing he would not 
economize — his painting materials. They must be the 
very best procurable, and at any time he would sacrifice 
a dinner for pigments. The Academy Exhibition of 
1849 was memorable. The two artists both exhibited. 
Holman-Hunt's ' Rienzi ' was hung as a pendant to 
Millais's ' Lorenzo and Isabella.' Gabriel Rossetti's 
' Girlhood of the Virgin Mary ' should have been there 
also, but to gain a week he sent it to the Hyde Park 
GaUery. This not only gave a week longer for com- 
pleting the picture, but, since this Gallery opened before 
the Academy, his picture was before the public a week 
earlier. The three pictures were each marked with the 
wonder-provoking monogram P.R.B. Rossetti's picture 
sold for eighty guineas, Millais's for one himdred and 
fifty. Holman-Hunt's was left on his hands. This 
was disappointing, for he had urgent need of money 
to continue his work. His landlord gave him notice 
to quit and seized his belongings. He was reduced to 
sore straits, but through the influence of Augustus W. 
Egg a purchaser was found for ' Rienzi,' and the hundred 
guineas given reUeved the immediate pressure. The 
Athenaeum praised Rossetti and somewhat severely 
handled the other two artists. On the whole, criticism 
was mildly unfavourable. But the storm had not yet 
broken. 

The autumn of 1849 Holman-Hunt spent with Rossetti 
in France and Belgium, a hoHday of varied and delight- 
ful experiences. Returning, he took a studio in Chelsea. 
Millais came back from a visit to Oxford and completed 
a picture suggested by a sermon heard there, ' Christ 
Wounded in the House of His Friends.' Holman-Hunt 



BROTHERS IN ART 33 

saw great possibilities in it. He himself was intent 
upon his next Academy picture, ' Christians Escaping 
from Persecuting Druids.' Whilst these were in hand 
the storm burst. A newspaper paragraph revealed the 
secret of the mystic letters P.R.B., and the exasperation 
caused in art circles was intense. At the ensuing ex- 
hibitions no language was too strong for denunciation 
of the work of these upstart painters. Rossetti, the 
culprit who let the secret out, found praise turned to 
condemnation. His ' Annunciation/ shown at Port- 
land Place Gallery, received such fierce criticism that 
he never exhibited in pubhc again. At the Academy 
Holman-Hunt and Millais fared still worse. Millais's 
picture was contemptuously called ' The Carpenter's 
Shop.' The Athenaeum damned Holman-Hunt's with 
the very faintest praise, and saw in Millais's 'an 
eccentricity both lamentable and revolting.' The entire 
Press, with the exception of the Spectator, denounced. 
Adjectives such as 'iniquitous,' 'infamous,' 'blas- 
phemous,' were freely used. Charles Dickens, through a 
leading article in Household Words, poured ridicule too 
mahcious to quote upon Millais's work. Holman- 
Hunt stole quietly amongst the crowds at the Academy 
Exhibition, hoping to hear some favourable judgement, 
but pubhc opinion ran the same way. With a glance at 
the pictures, and a contemptuous 'One of those pre- 
posterous Pre-Raphaehte works,' the pubhc swept by. 
Rossetti's picture, ' The Annunciation,' did not seU, though 
he lowered the price from ;^5o to £^0. (In 1886 the 
same picture was purchased for the National GaUery 
for £800.) Holman-Hunt was not more fortunate, 
but he received a commission to copy for £15 another 

c 



34 BROTHERS IN ART 

artist's picture. Millais was in the same plight, to his 
great chagrin, for he also was badly in need of money, 
but shortly after, though his picture was the most abused 
of the three, he received an offer of £300 for it. 

Holman-Hunt's ^^15 was soon exhausted, and he was 
then absolutely penniless, without even a coin to buy a 
stamp. In utter distress that day, throwing himself 
back in his chair and thrusting his hands between the 
seat and the back, he touched something hard and drew 
forth a half-cro\^^l. It was treasure indeed ! After 
many disheartening experiences he was able by the 
kindness of Augustus W. Egg to commence ' Claudio 
and Isabella,' and this opened the way for further work 
It is needless to detail the reception given to the artists' 
work year by year. (From now onward the expression 
' the artists ' signifies Holman-Hunt and Millais.) It 
is the same story of reiterated vituperation The public 
in the first instance perceived the greatness of their 
achievements and flocked to the galleries to admire 
their work. Later, much later, Academicians and art 
critics did them tardy justice. Ruskin helped to turn 
the tide by his vigorous letters to The Times. He ex- 
pressed his behef that the artists would, ' as they gamed 
experience, lay in our England the foundations of a 
school of art nobler than the world has seen for three 
hundred years.' This was indeed a ray of sunshine, 
and though the only one, coming from such a source 
its effect was great. Macaulay and Charles Kingsley, 
in addition to Dickens, were bitterly sarcastic, and 
Job's comforters were not wanting to express sym- 
pathy with so bold an experiment — and failure. There 
were many dark days to be lived through. Successive 



BROTHERS IN ART 35 

pictures at the Academy were flouted ; sitters for portraits 
fell away ; orders for book illustrations were revoked ; 
students, with few exceptions, took the same tone ; 
anon5mious abuse poured in by post. Meanwhile debt 
was increasing daily, for artists' expenses in studios, 
models, and materials are heavy, and their work was 
threatened with stoppage. 

But the artists held on with indomitable pluck. ' We 
were challenging the whole profession with a daring 
innovation, and it had aroused an alliance of half the 
art world against our cause. We were intending to 
stand or fall by the determination to cut away all con- 
ventions not endorsed by further appeal to unsophisticated 
Nature.' 

A joint letter of thanks from the artists to Ruskin, 
written from Millais's home in Gower Street, brought 
Mr. and Mrs. Ruskin there, and they carried off the 
young men to spend a week at their house in Camber- 
well. The artists and Ruskin did not by any means 
agree in all their views, but they became none the less 
excellent friends. During this week an amusing incident 
happened. A notable phrenologist in the Strand was 
attracting much attention. He had declared Tenny- 
son to possess powers that should make him the greatest 
poet of the age. Ruskin suspected that Tennyson had 
unconsciously revealed himself, and begged Millais to 
go, offering to pay the fee. Somewhat reluctantly 
Millais consented. The phrenologist's room was 
abundantly adorned with busts and portraits of celebrities, 
to which he called his sitter's attention. Millais mani- 
fested sublime ignorance. Who might this bloke be, and 
that old Johnny? After examination the phrenologist 



36 BROTHERS IN ART 

congratulated him upon his excellent practical qualities, 
but cautioned him that he would fail in poetry, 
literature, painting, sculpture, or architecture, that he 
had no organ of form, none of colour, and that he was 
deficient in ideality. Refusing his name and address, 
Millais called the next day for the paper setting forth 
his characteristics. This pocketed, he acceded to the 
phrenologist's desire that he would inscribe the book 
of cUents. Accordingly he wrote ' John Everett Millais, 
83 Gower Street.' ' What ! ' said the phrenologist, 
' son of the great artist ? ' No. ' Brother ? ' No, 
the painter himself. The return of the paper was 
demanded, that this extraordinary exception to the 
rules of ' our art ' might just be noted upon it. ' I 
wouldn't part with it for a thousand pounds,' said Millais, 
and walked out. 

Lack of money and the consequent impossibihty of 
continuing his career as an artist now led Holman-Hunt 
to contemplate seriously emigration and a fresh start 
in life as a farmer. Millais would not hear of it. His 
own circumstances had become easier. He pressed a 
loan upon his friend. His parents also urged it. Accept- 
ance tided over an acute crisis. A year later the loan 
was repaid, and from this time Holman-Hunt forged 
steadily ahead, though not without many anxieties, to 
richly deserved success. 

In 185 1 the artists found admirable spots two miles 
apart for backgrounds to pictures they were engaged 
upon, ' The HireUng Shepherd ' and ' OpheUa,' on the 
banks of a stream at Cuddington, near Ewell, in Surrey. 
They lodged first in Surbiton and afterwards at Wor- 
cester Park Farm. It was an idyllic period, the 



BROTHERS IN ART 37 

morning and evening walks to and from the river-side ; 
the discussion of numberless interesting topics ; the 
progress of each other's work, daily watched ; occasional 
visits to or from friends ; the open-air hfe amidst the 
beauty of Surrey scenery, and the general sense of freedom. 
Charles CoUins was with them, and William Rossetti 
and Madox Brown visited them. Also at this time 
came the turning of the tide that led on to fortune, for 
after a period of anxious suspense there arrived one 
day, in welcome contrast to the almost daily receipt of 
newspapers and anonymous letters fiUed with abuse, 
the glad tidings that Hohnan-Hunt's ' Two Gentlemen 
of Verona ' had been awarded the £50 prize for the best 
picture sent to the Liverpool Exhibition. 

At this time also they discovered that they had arrived 
independently at the same method of painting, the 
method that gave such brilliance to their work — a first 
coat of white paint mixed with a Httle amber or copal 
varnish laid on the canvas ; upon the hard surface thus 
obtained the outhne of the part of the picture under 
treatment sketched ; on the morning of painting a coat 
of fresh white paint, from which all superfluous oil 
had been removed, and to which a drop or two of varnish 
were added ; this spread thinly tiU the sketched-in out- 
lines showed through, and the colours then laid upon 
the wet ground. 

Fresh pictures also were commenced during this 
retreat. A passage of Scripture suggested to Holman- 
Hunt the ' Light of the World,' and after days given to 
'The Hireling Shepherd' he spent his nights during 
moonlight to painting the background, working in the 
open from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and that during winter 



38 BROTHERS IN ART 

months when the ground was frozen hard. To Millais 
a bit of old, Hchen-covered brick wall became the start- 
ing-point of a picture which developed into ' The 
Huguenot.' 

But let it not be supposed that the work of the artists, 
though their whole soul was in their work, was accom- 
plished without strenuous effort and occasional moods of 
most terrible depression. ' Agonize,' said oiu: Lord to His 
disciples, ' to enter in by the narrow door.' These men 
agonized. James Collins, during a moonlight walk 
from Kingston Station to Worcester Park Farm, con- 
fided to Holman-Hunt his utter discouragement. The 
reply he drew forth from the man so seemingly above 
such feelings must have surprised him. ' I have many 
times in my studio come to such a pass of humiliation 
that I have felt that there was not one thing I had thought 
I could do thoroughly in which I was not altogether 
incapable.' He added, ' Let us do battle, but do not 
let the fighting be that of a fatalist who thinks heaven 
is against him.' And Millais, the sunny-tempered, 
optimistic Millais, once said in reply to a remark by 
Sir Noel Paton that he surely could never feel dissatis- 
faction, ' Ah, my dear friend, that is all you know ! 
Why, there are times when I am so crushed and humiliated 
by my sense of incapacity, that I Hterally skulk about 
the house, ashamed to be seen by my own servants.' 

' The Hireling Shepherd,' ' Ophelia,' and ' The 
Huguenot ' appeared in the 1852 Academy Exhibition. 
Critics still sneered, but the attention of the public was 
arrested, and ' The Huguenot ' produced a sensation. 
In the summer Holman-Hunt went to Hastings to paint 
his ' Strayed Sheep ' on the cliffs at Fairlight. Edward 



BROTHERS IN ART 39 

Lear, author and artist, went with him. They took 
rooms at Clivedale Farm. Millais, who had gone to 
Hayes, in Kent, for a background to his ' Proscribed 
Royalist,' came for a week-end, and was so charmed 
with the place that he returned two years later to paint 
there his ' L'Enfant du Regiment ' and ' The Bhnd 
Girl.' On a morning when sea-mists stopped work 
Holman-Hunt spread his rug and settled down to read. 
A visitor, with easel and portfoho, passing by forced 
an unwelcome conversation. He boasted his acquaint- 
ance with celebrated artists. Hunt and Millais? Oh, 
yes, he knew them quite well ; they were charlatans 
who, far from painting from Nature, did all their work 
in their studios, painted trees in their landscapes from 
a single leaf or piece of bark, and fields from a single 
blade of grass. But did he know them personally ? 
Oh, yes, personally, and they were thorough charlatans ; 
and he went on his way blissfully ignorant that to one 
of these ' charlatans ' he had lied without stint. 

A similar experience befell Millais years later. The 
lady next to him at a dinner-party, the talk turning on 
the year's pictures, said, ' Isn't Millais too dreadful this 
year ? ' Then, seeing the look of horror on the face of 
the hostess, ' Oh, do tell me what I've done ! I must 
have done or said something terrible.' Millais laughed. 
' Well, you really have, you know,' and he pointed to 
himself. 

At the George Inn, Hayes, whilst Millais was there, 
the sign-post blew down. He and his brother William, 
in their pity for the landlord's distress, painted another, 
but their very practical sympathy called forth little 
gratitude, for ' it was not the same thing,' the landlord 



40 BROTHERS IN ART 

bitterly complained. Near the inn were some big trees 
on Coney Hall Hill. One of these provided the model 
for the giant oak in the foreground of ' The Proscribed 
Royalist.' It is still known as 'Millais's Oak.' A lady 
passing whilst he was engaged upon the picture ex- 
claimed to her sister, ' How beautiful ! And how mother 
would like to see it.' The artist turned and offered to 
take it to the house. The invalid mother was greatly 
dehghted, but the family did not know until the picture 
was exhibited who the painter was. 

At the close of 1852 Holman-Hunt was elected one 
of the original members of the CosmopoHtan Club. It 
met in a room in Charles Street that had been used 
previously as a studio by G. F. Watts, and one large 
wall had been covered by him with a fresco from 
Boccaccio's Demon Lover. Here the first meeting between 
Holman-Hunt and Thackeray took place, and here he 
met Layard, who, hearing of his projected visit to Syria, 
gave him valuable letters of introduction. \\Tien the 
' Light of the World ' was nearing completion the artist 
began ' The Awakened Conscience.' The subject was 
suggested by the words of Proverbs, 'As he that taketh 
away a garment in cold weather, so is he that sings 
songs to a weary heart.' The painter desired ' to show 
how the still small voice speaks to a human soul in the 
turmoil of life,' and to make the picture ' a material 
interpretation of the idea in the " Light of the World." ' 

At the 1853 Academy ' Claudio and Isabella ' was well 
placed and had many admirers. Holman-Hunt received 
an offer of three hundred guineas, but he had under- 
taken this picture for Augustus Egg, who gave him a 
commission at twenty-five guineas when the artist's hopes 



BROTHERS IN ART 41 

had sunk to zero, and, in spite of his patron's desire 
that he should accept the larger offer, he absolutely 
refused. Millais's ' Order of Release ' was also ex- 
hibited. So great was the crush to see it that for the 
first time in the history of the Academy a policeman 
was necessary to move on the crowds. Pubhc interest 
was fully aroused, and critics began to waver. From 
this time onward every exhibition showed the widen- 
ing influence of Pre-Raphaehte principles in the increasing 
number of artists who went direct to Nature for inspira- 
tion. But the battle was still far from won. Much 
hostile and damaging criticism had yet to be faced. 

In June Millais went with the Ruskins to Scotland. 
He painted a portrait of Ruskin, perhaps the best, at 
a turn of the Uttle river Finlass, near Callander. It 
was a time of great enjoyment — dining on the rocks 
when fine ; painting and reading by day ; mountain- 
cKmbing in the long evenings, Mrs. Ruskin accompany- 
ing ; taking lessons in architecture from Ruskin and 
designing a window under his guidance ; interesting 
hours in the quaint kirk, where sleepy worshippers used 
horn snuff-mulls and bone spoons to keep them awake, 
coUie dogs joined in the singing, and the precentor met 
the suggestion that an organ might be useful with the 
indignant retort : ' Ah, man, would ye have us take to 
the devil's band ? ' 

In 1850 Millais had been elected an Associate of the 
Royal Academy, but the appointment had been quashed 
on the ground of his youth. He was elected again in 
November of this year. It was supposed, but wTongly, 
that on election he would abandon his P.R. principles. 
Meanwhile Holman-Hunt was preparing to carry out 



42 BROTHERS IN ART 

the great purpose of his life. It had originated when, 
as a boy, he heard lessons read from the New Testament. 
To Augustus Egg he said, ' My desire is very strong to 
use my powers to make more tangible Jesus Christ's 
history and teaching. Art has often illustrated the 
theme, but it has surrounded it with many enervating 
fables, and perverted the heroic drama with feeble 
interpretation. We have reason to believe that the 
Father of all demands that every generation should 
contribute its quota of knowledge and wisdom to attain 
the final purpose ; and however small my mite may be, 
I wish to do my poor part, and in pursuing this 
aim I ought not surely to serve art less perfectly.' 
One thing troubled him. Walter Deverell, his old 
friend, was ill and in poor circumstances. Holman- 
Hunt wrote to Millais in Scotland and the 
artists agreed to purchase one of Deverell's unsold 
pictures for ninety guineas, halving the cost. It was 
one of Holman-Hunt's last acts, before leaving, to pay 
this visit of comfort. Thomas Seddon proposed to join 
in the Eastern tour, and went on ahead to Cairo. About 
£700 was Holman-Hunt's capital for the venture. Mr. 
Combe, of Oxford, undertook to act as banker for him. 
Millais came from Scotland to say good-bye. A fine 
day was wanted to complete ' The Awakened Con- 
science.' It came at last. The picture was finished 
at four o'clock, a cab was engaged for a round of fare- 
well calls, and the artists went together to the station. 
There was no time for dinner. Millais seized what he 
could at the buffet and tossed the package into the 
carriage as the night-mail moved out of the station. 
' What a leave-taking it was with him in my heart when 



BROTHERS IN ART 43 

the train started ! Did other men have such a sacred 
friendship as that we had formed ? ' Such was Hohnan- 
Hunt's feeling. He left England in February, 1854. 
The comradeship was kept up by intimate correspond- 
ence throughout the period of his absence. 

Millais on his part was in no cheerful mood. ' Now 
that Himt is going,' he wrote, ' I don't know what will 
become of me.' Though elected to the Academy, he 
had his greatest fight yet before him. Leading R.A.'s 
were bitterly prejudiced ; Deverell, a firm friend, lay 
dying ; Holman-Hunt gone ; Gabriel Rossetti had turned 
his back upon the Brotherhood, and the P.R.B. as a 
body of associated workers had come to an end. He 
gave himself to hard work, and found time amidst it 
all to spend hours at the bedside of Deverell reading 
to his dying friend. In the autumn he returned to 
Scotland and met J. D. Luard, an officer in the Army. 
He abandoned the military profession for art, and shared 
Millais's studio in Langham Chambers almost to the 
time of his death in i860. To the Paris Exhibition of 
the following year Millais sent ' Ophelia,' ' The Order 
of Release,' and other pictures. ' The Light of the 
World ' was also exhibited, and works by Andsell, Martin, 
Mulready, Noel Paton, Frith, Landseer, and others. 
These created a deep impression, and revealed an un- 
suspected trend in British art. Of the awards given, 
thirty-four fell to British artists. The influence of 
Pre-Raphaelite principles was very marked, and the 
Exhibition became a veritable triumph for them. 

This same year a fire in London in which two lives 
were lost suggested to Millais the subject of his picture 
' The Rescue.' He considered that soldiers and sailors 



44 BROTHERS IN ART 

had been immortalized by artists a thousand times, 
but firemen never at all, and resolved to celebrate their 
heroism. Gabriel Rossetti praised the picture highly. 
The Hanging Committee at the Academy skied it, but 
gave way before the artist's indignant remonstrances. 
The verdict of the general public was one of enthusiastic 
approval. At this period Millais made many notable 
friends. Leighton, Thackeray, Wilkie CoUins, Anthony 
Trollope, and Leech were amongst them. 

A curious experience befell Millais and Leech on a 
fishing-tour in Scotland. The squire of Cowdray Hall 
invited them to dine and sleep at his house. It was 
so fuU that the only bedrooms available were in a wing 
reputed to be haunted by a terrible ghost. The fisher- 
men made light of that and after a dinner seasoned with 
ghost-stories retired to their tapestried chambers and 
great old-fashioned beds. In the middle of the night 
a great horror fell upon Millais. He felt himself shaken 
as if by some invisible giant (the ghost's supposed 
manner). He jumped out of bed and went to see how 
Leech was faring. Leech was in the corridor, half dead 
with fright. A similar thing had happened to him. 
In the corridor the friends remained for the rest of the 
night. To curious inquirers in the morning they declared 
they had seen no ghost. In the afternoon the squire 
came in, excited by the news in the evening paper he 
brought. There had been a severe earthquake during 
the night and serious damage done to a village near by. 
How extraordinary that no one in the house had felt 
it ! Then the guests acknowledged their fright, and, 
for once at least, a ghost was adequately explained. 

In July, 1855, Millais married. His wife, Euphemia 



BROTHERS IN ART 45 

Chalmers Gray, eldest daughter of George Gray, of 
Bowerswell, Perth, had been married seven years before 
to Ruskin. It had proved an unfortunate union from 
the first. Ruskin had twice been disappointed in love, 
his health was undermined, and he felt for the lady, who 
was a distant relative, nothing but cousinly affection. 
But he allowed himself to be overpersuaded by the 
importunity of his mother, who was convinced that the 
marriage would be for his good. All the parties acted 
as they supposed for the best, and least of all could the 
young girl be blamed who, in complete ignorance of 
Ruskin 's feelings, naturally expected that her whole- 
hearted affection would be reciprocated. On his own 
admission Ruskin married without love, and the arduous 
labours of a hterary man entirely absorbed in his work 
were not calculated to stimulate deeper feeHng. For 
the young wife perfect courtesy with imperfect affec- 
tion created an impossible situation. She returned to 
her father's house, and the Courts, in an undefended 
suit, pronounced the marriage null and void. Millais, 
with chivalrous thoughtfulness, deferred taking action 
for a year, but on the anniversary of the lady's return 
to her home he married her at that home. Forty-one 
years of happy life followed. Mrs. Millais undertook 
the chief bulk of her husband's correspondence and 
interviewed the many callers whose trivial objects 
wasted his valuable time. Her historical knowledge 
was of great service in the selection and treatment of 
subjects, and her musical gifts cheered his few leisure 
hours. After a prolonged honeymoon Millais and his 
wife settled down at Annat Lodge, near BowersweU, 
a ' typical old house with a cedared garden,' and in the 



46 BROTHERS IN ART 

late autumn the painter was hard at work again, find- 
ing recreation in occasional days given to shooting. 
' Autumn Leaves ' was painted this year, the first of a 
series of landscape of exquisite charm. Although 
Millais is best known by his figure-studies, his representa- 
tions of the many moods of Nature in ' Autumn Leaves/ 
'Chill October,' 'Fringe of the Moor,' 'The Deserted 
Garden,' ' Lingering Autumn,' ' Dew-drenched Furze,' 
and other paintings stamp his work as that of a man 
into whose soul the loveliness of Nature had entered, 
and whose masterly technique enabled him to transfer 
to canvas that which his soul discerned. 

The storv' of Holman-Hunt's first \isit to the Holy 
Land, 1S54-1S56, is omitted here. It enters largely 
into the history of his Eastern pictures described in the 
following chapters. The full account should be read 
in Holman-Hunt's own words in the pages of Pre- 
Raphaelites and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The 
title of the book gives no hint of the treasure it contains 
— ^its vivid word-painting, the word-painting of an 
artist, its charming humour, its wealth of anecdote, and 
its sidehghts upon Oriental manners and superstitions. 

In February, 1856, Holman-Hunt was back in England, 
bringing few pictures indeed, but great ones, notably 
' The Scapegoat,' and the as yet unfinished ' Finding 
of the Sa\'iour in the Temple.' Millais came from Scot- 
land for the Academy, and the friends met again with 
great joy. It was a year of very varied experiences. 

' The Scapegoat ' and Millais's ' Blind Girl ' were 
exhibited. Again the warm appreciation of the pubHc 
contrasted with the half-contemptuous notices in the 
Press. Holman-Hunt found his time largely taken up 



BROTHERS IN ART 47 

by his father's legal difficulties and the education in art 
of his sister. He met for the first time Leighton, Tenny- 
son, Browning, and G. F. Watts. The invitation to 
visit Watts's studio at Little Holland House led to the 
spending of many happy hours there. Watts returned 
the visit and expressed his appreciation of his brother 
artist's work. ' He had the cathoUcity of interest for 
other work than his own that all true artists retain.' 
The Academy had not the same cathoHcity. Holman- 
Hunt's apphcation for membership was rejected. It 
made a considerable difference to the artist's sale of his 
work, but notwithstanding he received four hundred 
and fifty guineas for ' The Scapegoat.' It was a meagre 
enough sum in view of the time, toil, expense, and 
peril involved in painting the picture, but it was the 
beginning of brighter days. Yet considering that 
Holman-Hunt's work had been exhibited annually, with 
two exceptions, from 1S45, and that his paintings had 
attracted as much attention as any, he may well have 
felt that his claim for admission was a strong one. He 
consoled himself with the reflection that later generations 
would decide and allowed no bitterness of feeling to 
spoil his fife or his work. Later generations did decide, 
and their decision crowned the artist with und\dng fame. 
The record of a day's routine in the artist's Hfe is 
interesting. In his studio at nine o'clock, painting 
till dusk, after dinner, attendance at the Life School or 
making book illustrations, and lastly the continuous labour 
of the day pushed far into the night hours to deal with 
an extensive correspondence and housekeeping duties, 
a very difterent experience to the easy life commonly 
supposed to be led by artists. 



48 BROTHERS IN ART 

The death of Holman-Hunt's father at this time was 
a further blow. Upon his deathbed he expressed his 
thorough satisfaction with the independent course his 
son had taken. ' I watched him until his life ebbed away, 
and he sank in peaceful spirit into his last sleep.' All 
these circumstances resulted in a passing mood of deep 
discouragement, so deep that once again the question 
of relinquishing art altogether arose. An in\'itation to 
visit Tennyson at Farringford proved a valuable tonic. 
' The opportunity of being alone with him was precious, 
and I valued it as a sacred privilege. The hohday 
brought balm and health to me, and I went back to my 
work with renewed zest.' 

In the meantime Millais's path, although he had 
been received by the Academy, was far from being a 
smooth one. There had, indeed, come to him one joy 
that his friend knew nothing of as yet : his letters reveal 
him as a proud and fond father. He wrote to Holman- 
Hunt, ' I wish you would come and see me now and 
then, and let my boy pull your beard.' And again, 
' I find my baby robs me of a great deal of my time, 
as I am constantly in the nursery watching its progress 
and its ever-changing expression.' But outside the 
home there was much to cause anxiety. Opposition 
was coming to a head. The Press was prejudiced ; 
members of the Royal Academy sought to prevent his 
pictures being shown to advantage ; Ruskin's criticism 
had turned from praise to blajne, and the adverse judge- 
ment of so great a critic influenced purchasers. The 
Times was abusive, and the Academy, with one or two 
exceptions, hostile. 

Returning to Bowerswell in the autumn of 1858 



BROTHERS IN ART 49 

Millais commenced in October ' The Vale of Rest.' 
He had been working for some time weekdays and 
Sundays with little progress. Mrs. Millais disapproved. 
This winter he had an immensity of work in hand, but 
there was no Sunday toil, and to this his wife attributed 
his success. The following year his affairs reached a 
crisis. Buyers held aloof, his financial position was 
desperate, ruin threatened. At the 1859 Academy 
he exhibited ' The Vale of Rest,' ' Apple Blossoms,' 
and ' The Love of James I of Scotland.' Ruskin's 
dictum was — ' Hopelessly fallen.' But Thackeray and 
Watts gave high praise, and the public were deUghted. 
Millais determined to hold out and put a high price upon 
his work. In May the tide turned. A dealer bought 
' The Vale of Rest ' ; commissions began to flow in. 
Best of all perhaps was Watts's confident prophecy 
about the pictures — ' They will Live for ever, and will 
soon find their proper place.' Another twelve months 
and he was able to write to his wife, ' Keep yourself 
quite happy, for we have every reason to be thankful 
this year.' His 'Black Brunswicker' had taken the 
public by storm, and from this time forward he passed 
from success to success, and the only adverse criticism 
was that which he passed upon himself. For it was 
a sore point with him that the pubhc esteemed most 
highly that which he knew was not his noblest work. 
But, he reasoned, an artist must live, and to Uve he 
must take some account of the class of work in demand 
at the moment. And very charming were his studies 
of graceful httle maidens, for which his own children 
posed. If the pubhc liked httle girls in mob caps, little 
girls in mob caps they should have. But it was in 

D 



50 BROTHERS IN ART 

work of a more serious character that he delighted, 
and at the close of his hfe he was intent upon carrying 
out his highest ideals. Between himself and his brother 
artist much good-humoured argument passed on the 
question of demand and supply, for Holman-Hunt 
was uncompromising. But nothing disturbed their 
friendly relations, and each took the keenest interest 
in the work of the other. 

At the same time that the tide turned for Millais it 
turned for Holman-Hunt also. Mr. Combe, of the 
Oxford University Press, during a visit from the artist 
in 1859, urged the completion of ' The Finding of the 
Saviour in the Temple,' and offered a loan of £300 for the 
purpose. This made it possible for him to concentrate 
all his attention upon the picture. It was finished in 
April, and, instead of being exhibited at the Academy, 
was submitted to the pubHc in i860. Visitors came in 
crowds, from eight hundred to a thousand daily. The 
Prince Consort was one of them. By the Queen's com- 
mand the picture was taken to Windsor for Her Majesty's 
inspection and returned with a gracious message of 
appreciation. In the face of this general approval the 
fact that the editor of The Times refused to insert a notice, 
and that one critic denounced the picture as ' blasphem- 
ous ' and ' only a representation of a parcel of modem 
Turks in a cafe,' mattered httle. Millais wrote to his 
wife, ' Hunt's exhibition is a tremendous success. The 
public are much taken with the miniature-hke finish 
and the rehgious character of the subject. The Royal 
Academy are tremendously jealous of the success of the 
picture.' 

The path to fame now opened out ; and many interesting 



BROTHERS IN ART 51 

experiences came to the artist — breakfast with Gladstone 
at Carlton House Terrace ; a walking-tour through Corn- 
wall and Devon in the autumn of i860 with Tennyson, 
Palgrave, Woolner, and Val Prinsep ; a visit to Gad's 
Hill for the marriage of Charles Collins to Dickens's 
daughter ; a meeting with Garibaldi at breakfast by the 
invitation of the Duchess of Argyll. At the International 
Exhibition of 1862 the pictures of Holman-Hunt and 
Millais, the sculptures of Woolner, and the designs in 
furniture and utensils of William Morris, Madox Brown, 
and Rossetti were exhibited. The Pre-Raphaehte prin- 
ciples which had governed the work of the brothers in 
art were triimiphantly vindicated. Those principles 
continued to be misunderstood in many quarters, but 
the work of the artists had a secure place in the world of 
art. The days of contumely and poverty and continual 
struggle against bitter opposition, of unreasonable prejudice 
and most discouraging circumstances had passed. 
Holman-Hunt went forward in serene assurance of 
victory, disdainful of Academic honours, to pursue the 
bent of his own genius. For Millais work poured in on 
all sides. He was in constant touch with the leading 
celebrities of the day, patronized by royalty, and ever 
more popular with the public. 

On December 28, 1865, Holman-Hunt married. 
The following year the way seemed open for return- 
ing to Jerusalem to continue his work there. In 
August he started for the East with his bride. 
One night was to have been spent at Florence, but 
communication with Egypt was suspended, and the 
one night extended to a year. A studio was taken, 
and the artist began his ' Isabella and the Pot of Basil.' 



52 BROTHERS IN ART 

With what feelings he completed this can be imagined. 
An idyllic year ended under the cloud of a great sorrow, 
and in September, 1867, Holman-Hunt returned to 
England with his exquisite painting of baffled love and 
his motherless baby boy. Not until 1869 was he able 
to return to the East. He passed through Venice, where 
he met Ruskin and studied the paintings of the great 
masters in his company. Referring to the artist's 
observations on a change of tone in Ruskin's writings, 
Ruskin acknowledged that he had been led ' to regard 
the whole story of a divine revelation as a mere wilderness 
of poetic dreaming ... no Eternal Father . . . man 
without other helper than himself, and that this con- 
clusion brought him great unhappiness.' Ten years 
later, in London, Ruskin went with Holman-Hunt to 
his Chelsea studio to inspect his painting, ' The Triumph 
of the Innocents,' and remarked that he valued it for ' its 
emphatic teaching of the immortality of the soul.' The 
painter was naturally surprised and recalled the Venice 
conversation. Ruskin, in reply, averred that his views 
had been changed by ' the imanswerable evidence of 
spirituaUsm ' ; that he found beneath ' much vulgar fraud 
and stupidity ' sufficient proof of ' personal Hfe, indepen- 
dent of the body ' ; and that this proved he ' had no further 
interest in the pursuit of spirituaUsm.' 

From Venice Holman-Hunt went by Rome, Naples, 
and Alexandria to Jaffa, and arrived in Jerusalem after 
a fourteen years' absence. He obtained a house known 
as Dar Berruk Dar, in an elevated part of the city, and 
there and at Bethlehem and at Nazareth he painted ' The 
Shadow of Death.' During intervals of interruption he 
worked upon ' The Triumph of the Innocents.' 



BROTHERS IN ART 53 

On his return to London it was difficult to find a studio 
large enough for ' The Shadow of Death.' Millais lent 
his for the purpose during his autumn hoHday. Here 
and elsewhere the artist spent some months over various 
amendments. The picture was bought by Messrs. 
Agnew and exhibited throughout the country. It 
aroused everywhere the greatest interest. The industrial 
classes of the North in particular were deeply touched 
by it. 

During these years Millais was busily engaged in ever 
increasing work. In addition to his great paintings he 
made illustrations in black and white for various pubUsh- 
ing-houses ; a series of drawings representing the Parables 
of our Lord ; and repUcas of these in water-colours for a 
stained-glass window, which he presented to Kinnoul 
Church, the burial-place of the Gray family. AU the 
backgrounds for the latter were drawn from Nature 
at or around Bowerswell. He made also many repUcas 
in water-colours of his oil-paintings. In 1861 he bought 
a house in South Kensington, and used this as his town 
residence from 1862 to 1878, when he built a large house 
at Palace Gate. His ' Jephthah,' exhibited in 1867, was 
the first of his paintings to command a very large price. 
It is impossible within the brief compass of this chapter to 
speak of the hosts of friends he made and the brilliance 
of his career in the world of art and in the world of 
social life. The fascinating story is told at large in the 
biography written by his son. 

From 1866 to 1880 the artists saw Httle of each other. 
Holman-Hunt was mostly abroad. But the firm, re- 
ciprocal friendship was kept up by continuous correspon- 
dence. The fame of each was dear to the other, and 



54 BROTHERS IN ART 

Holman-Hiint never failed to stir up his friend to put 
forth all his powers for the honour of British art when any 
great exhibition at home or abroad drew near. 

In 1870 Millais's father died, full of pride and joy that 
his fondest hopes in his son had been reahzed. The new 
Galleries in Piccadilly were opened this year. Millais 
contributed ' The Boyhood of Raleigh,' ' A Widow's 
Mite,' ' The Flood,' and ' A Knight-Errant,' and in 
October he carried out his long-cherished desire to paint 
landscape, with what success has been already told. 
The porter of the station near which ' Chill October ' 
was painted took great interest in the progress of the 
picture ' we made doon by the watter-side.' When 
he heard that it had been sold for a thousand 
pounds his amazed comment was, 'Weel, it's a vena 
funny thing, but a wudna hae gi'en half-a-croon for it 
mysel'.' 

In November, 1875, Holman-Hunt married again, 
and immediately afterwards started upon his third visit 
to the Holy Land, Husband and \\ife travelled by 
Venice down the Adriatic (the painting ' The Ship ' 
was the outcome of this voyage), and by Alexandria 
and Jaffa to Jerusalem. The next few years were 
devoted to portraits and other works. These were 
exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. 

For Millais, also, these were years of sunshine mingled 
with deep shadows. The death of his old friends Dickens 
and Landseer, the loss of his son, and his own failing 
health caused at times great depression, but the fine 
spirit of the artist bore up bravely. Honours now poured 
in upon him — in 1880 the Oxford D.C.L., in 1882 French 
and German distinctions. In 1883 he accepted a 



BROTHERS IN ART 55 

baronetcy. His love of social life and of outdoor sports, 
the fishing and shooting and hunting by means of which 
he had successfully combated delicate health in youth, 
made the offer as welcome to him cLS it was distasteful to 
Watts, who received a similar offer at the same time. In 
1885 Millais's picture 'Bubbles' called forth some sharp 
criticism. Marie Corelli, in her Sorrows of Satan, 
severely condemned this prostitution of art to commerce, 
as she accounted it, but she apologized handsomely upon 
receiving the artist's statement of the facts. The Illustrated 
London News had bought the picture and sold it again, 
with copyright, to Pears. When Pears's manager called 
with specimens of the picture used as an advertisement 
MiUais was furious, but the excellence of the coloured 
reproductions somewhat modified his anger. 

In 1886 his collected works were exhibited at the 
Grosvenor Gallery. To the pubUc it was a wonderful 
display ; to the artist himself a saddening one. With 
the modesty of true genius he felt that he had not 
fulfilled in maturity the promise of youth. 

There was another wonderful display at the same 
Gallery the following year, when Holman-Himt's available 
works were brought together at the invitation of the Fine 
Arts Society. The exhibition was an immense success. 
In the few weeks that it was open 35,500 persons passed 
the turnstile. The long combat of the brothers in art 
for recognition was not only won for themselves, they 
had cleared a path which enabled Leighton and 
Watts and other artists to exercise independence of 
thought and style. The conflict led also to a Royal 
Commission, and some of the Academicians decided to 
invite men 'unfairly opposed to enter amongst them.' 



56 BROTHERS IN ART 

Hence Watts was approached and persuaded to become 
£Ln associate, with the pledge of being made a full member 
upon the first vacancy. 

In 1889 Hohnan-Hunt was at work upon ' The Lady of 
Shalott,' a very masterpiece in colour, and in subject a 
most eloquent sermon. The same year he began ' May 
Morning on Magdalen Tower, Oxford.' On May-day he. 
ascended the tower to make observations and sketches. 
A few days later he settled to work, and for weeks moimted 
the tower each morning at four o'clock to watch the 
first rays of the sun. , The work was done on a small 
canvas and repeated on a larger canvas in a studio 
provided in the new buildings of the college. 

In 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Holman-Hunt visited Italy, 
Greece, Egypt, and PaJestme. The picture of ' The 
Miracle of the Holy Fire ' was painted during this visit. 
Then the artist packed up what few things moth and 
thieves had left of his furniture and bade a last farewell 
to the holy places. 

For Millais these years were marked by his painting 
for the third and last time the portrait of Gladstone ; 
by the burning down of liis house at Stobhall ; by j\Irs. 
Miilais's failing eyesight, which deprived the artist of 
her help ; and by a recurrence of his old throat trouble. 
The speciahsts spoke hopefully, but the artist had a 
presentiment that it was the beginning of the end. 
Sir Frederick Leighton died in January, 1896. On 
February 20 Millais was elected to succeed him as 
President of the Royal Academy. Congratulations 
poured in on every side, Holman-Hunt spoke of his 
surpassing fitness for the position. Alas 1 it was only 
held for a few months. In May he received the Prince 



BROTHERS IN ART 57 

of Wales at the Academy, but was too ill to keep pace 
with him, and the Prince insisted on his going home. 
He left, never to return to the place the very benches 
of which, he used to say, were dear to him. He Ungered 
on for nearly three months, and on August 13, 1896, 
passed from unconsciousness into the ' Vale of Rest.' 
By his special request his old friend and brother artist 
was one of the pall-bearers when he was laid to rest in 
St. Paul's Cathedral. 

This is Holman-Hunt's tribute to Millais's memory 
in a letter written to J. G. Millais : ' After fifty-two 
yeajs of unbroken friendship the earthly bond has 
separated. It would be a real loss to the world if your 
father's manly straightforwardness and his fearless 
sense of honour should ever cease to be remembered. 
There are men who never challenge criticism because 
they have no sense of individual independence. My 
old friend was different, and he justified all his courses 
by loyalty and consistency as well as courage — the 
courage of a true conscience. As a painter of subtle 
perfection, while his works last they wiU prove the 
supreme character of his genius.' 

Holman-Hunt's work now drew towards its close. 
Leighton and Millais and Watts had passed away. 
With the completion of his 'Lady of Shalott,' begun 
in 1886, and finished in 1905, his active hfe as a painter 
ended. He received in 1905 the Oxford D.C.L. and 
from King Edward VII the Order of Merit. For five 
years he enjoyed a peaceful eventide, a prolonged summer- 
day's twilight ; full of the glow and colour of a perfect 
sunset. Much of his time was spent at Sonning-on- 
Thames, where he had built a cottage. There old 



58 BROTHERS IN ART 

friends who visited him, touched by his youthfulness 
of heart, forgot their years. It was here that his strength 
failed. Taken back to the London he had loved from 
boyhood, he passed away at i8 Melbur}^ Road, Kensing- 
ton, without pain or effort, on September 7, 1910, and 
was borne to the same grand old Cathedral to which he 
had helped to bear his brother in art fourteen years 
before. 



'CLAUDIO AND ISABELLA' 

(holman-hunt) 

O hapless messenger ! She brought 

The bribe of lust : 
His pardon by defilement bought, 

This they discussed ; 
For honour pleaded she, and he 

Pleaded for Uf e ; 
The precious moments big with destiny 
Sped by in strife, 
A strife of words, but bitterer strife within. 
Could he require, could she refuse the sin? 
Could he buy Hberty with shame, could she 
Doom him, to spare her own virginity? 
His reason deemed the sacrifice worth while. 
Her heart no specious reasoning might beguile ; 
To save his body — ah ! she knew full well 
'Twould be to sink her very soul to hell ; 
And yet — and yet, even her soul to save 
How dare she send a brother to the grave ? 
Who shall decide which gave the stronger claim. 
His forfeit life or her abiding shame ? 
Love, be the arbiter whose judgement ran of yore — 
' I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not 
honour more.' 



59 



CHAPTER II 

DEATH VERSUS DISHONOUR 
' Claudio and Isabella ' 

When a boy of nineteen Holman-Hunt determined to 
be independent, and to carve out a pathway for himself 
as an artist. He rented a room, a poor enough back 
room in Cleveland Street, for a studio, and relied upon 
promised commissions for portraits to make a living. 
Alas ! the promises were not kept. Time enough to 
fulfil them when the young artist had proved his ability. 
In the meantime the cost of living, the rent of his studio, 
and the expenses incurred in providing himself with 
materials and models, had drained his resources. 
He bethought him in his extremity of an offer 
of fifty guineas for a picture from Shakespeare or 
Tennyson. He worked hard for several days upon 
three designs, of which ' Claudio and Isabella ' was one, 
and sat up a whole night to finish them. These designs 
when submitted were repudiated as ' hideous affecta- 
tions.' In despair he took them to his friend Augustus 
W. Egg, an Academician of some standing. Egg pro- 
nounced them excellent, and then and there com- 
missioned him to paint ' Claudio and Isabella ' for twenty- 
five guineas, and, to meet the pressing need of his young 

6z 



62 BROTHERS IN ART 

friend, he gave him a cheque at the same time. An old 
coach-panel prepared by the artist was ready to hand. 
He obtained permission to paint for the background of 
his picture a room in the Lollard Prison at Lambeth 
Palace, and engaged a man to carry his materials. So 
shabby was the painter that the man was taken for the 
master. The Lambeth chamber became Claudio's prison, 
and the porter, used as a model, was transformed into 
Claudio. The picture, having been sufficiently advanced 
at Lambeth, was completed at home and exhibited at 
the 1853 Academy. It was well placed and had many 
admirers. The artist was offered three hundred guineas 
for it. Egg urged him to accept them, relinquish- 
ing his own claim. He refused the generous offer. Egg's 
it was, and his it should be at the price agreed 
upon. 

The conception of this picture is not less extraordinary 
than its execution. A young painter of twenty-three, 
with the whole of Shakespeare's plays to select a sub- 
ject from, decides upon Measure for Measure, one of the 
least likely to appeal to a young man's imagination, 
and with an unerring instinct picks out the central 
incident in the drama. Claudio has wronged JuUet 
and is condemned to death under an old law unearthed 
by the Duke of Vienna's deputy Angelo. There is one 
faint hope — that Claudio's sister Isabella may be able 
to excite the pity of the austere guardian of the city's 
morals. Her appeal, without touching his sympathy, 
kindled his desire. Claudio may Uve if the nun will 
sacrifice herself. She brings, ashamed to bring it, the 
shameful message of the cruel alternative. Her brother 
will never consent to the outrageous proposal ! But 



DEATH VERSUS DISHONOUR 63 

there is a weak strain in Claudio. Already his self- 
mastery has broken down. His beloved Juliet is the 
victim of his ungoverned impulses, and now, after a 
feeble protest, the thought at the bottom of his mind 
reveals itself, first by obscure suggestions and then in 
passionate pleading. It is the moment of vacillating 
hesitation before the plainly expressed thought calls 
forth Isabella's hot scorn and anguish that the artist 
has caught. The shamefulness of the thought lurks 
in the averted eyes ; the half-opened mouth is about 
to body it in speech ; the hand plucking at the chain 
indicates a readiness to accept any sacrifice to get rid 
of these shackles ; and the whole attitude bespeaks a 
hope that his sister might offer that which craven fear 
was impelling him to urge. And upon the nun's face 
is a look of growing recognition of the baseness of Claudio's 
point of view, of pained surprise that he could hesitate 
for one moment in his choice, and of womanly appeal 
to his better nature. Then from those opened hps 
burst forth the words, ' Death is a fearful thing,' 
calling forth the instant retort, ' And shamed life 
a hateful.' Claudio was not the stuff martyrs are 
made of ; Isabella was ready to lay down her Hfe, even 
under torture, for her brother, but resolute to preserve 
her own honour. Death versus dishonour, which ? 
Ah ! surely, in such circumstances, dishonour might 
be glory, was the man's specious plea. It was not 
only maidenly purity that rose in revolt. With far- 
reaching womanly insight Isabella realized that not 
one hfe but two hves were at stake. The man's selfish- 
ness was blind to that which the woman's instinct took 
account of. She had to set a brother's death over against 



64 BROTHERS IN ART 

the possibility of a child's disgrace, and maternal pro- 
tectiveness flashed out to strengthen maidenly purity. 

It is commonly held that in the httle things of Hfe a 
woman's code of honour is less keen than man's. 
Perhaps it is so. Certainly centuries of subjugation have 
driven women to forge and to use subtle weapons of 
protection that only in these days of approximate indepen- 
dence they are laying aside ; but in those great ethical 
principles upon which the rise and fall of nations and 
the onward progress of the race depend woman's in- 
stinct has been sound, and the world owes an immense 
debt of gratitude to its staunch and clear-sighted 
Isabellas. 

The character of Claudio, drawn with so sure a touch 
by Shakespeare, has been reproduced with the utmost 
fidelity by the artist. It would have been possible to 
have felt a certain admiration for this man had he looked 
the nun straight in the face and said unabashed, ' The 
world needs my sword more than your virtue ; go and 
sin.' The conceit would have been colossal, the deter- 
mination diabolically grand. But this averted gaze, 
this cringing attitude, speak only of cowardly shrink- 
ing and pitiful self-love, the outcome of a nature warped 
by luxury and indulgence. And because the picture so 
strikingly suggests this moral Dr. Paton, of Nottingham, 
has had a reproduction of it specially prepared, 
for presentation to boys' clubs and young men's institutes. 
For the future of the British race depends upon the 
young manhood of Great Britain taking to heart this 
lesson in honour given in the days of his own early 
manhood by an artist who was himself the soul of 
honour. 



' THE HUGUENOT ' 

(millais) 

'Only a handkerchief, just for one day ! 

No word to be spoken. 

No pledge to be broken. 

Just this silent token, 
Dear heart, I pray thee, O sweetheart, I pray. 

Tremblingly tying it, once more the cry — 

' O wear it, O wear it. 

For my dear sake bear it. 

But what ? Thou wouldst tear it 
Off from thine arm ! Then at morn must thou die ! 

Could he deny her, so wondrously fair? 

Her body so slender. 

Her glances so tender. 

And he her defender ? 
Surely for her sake this badge he might bear ! 

Dread was that moment, that pause to decide 

'Twixt living and dying, 

'Twixt honour and lying. 

An inward voice crying 
' Be true to thy conscience, whatever betide.' 

* "Only a handkerchief ! " Useless this strife ! 

Alas ! to seek ease on 

Such terms would be treason 

To God and to reason, 
Better grim death than a dishonoured life.' 



65 



DEATH VERSUS DISHONOUR 67 



* The Huguenot ' 

The evolution of this picture is peculiarly interesting. 
Its starting-point was an old lichen-covered garden wall 
at Worcester Park Farm near Cheam, in Surrey, just the 
object to arrest an artist's attention, its lines of masonry 
softened by Time's fingers, its surface covered in brilliant 
patches with the greys and yellows of the clinging plants, 
its cracks and crannies the sheltering-place of shy wild 
flowers, its drooping canopy of ivy reaching down towards 
an upgrowth of nasturtiums and Canterbury-bells. It 
was a thing in itself to paint for the sheer beauty of it, 
and it occurred to Millais that this was an ideal spot 
for the tender caresses and whispered confidences of 
lovers. He proposed therefore to paint a gracious 
representation of ' love's sweet young dream,' as described 
in Tennyson's line ' Two lovers whispering by a garden 
wall,' against this exquisite background. He and Holman- 
Hunt were spending together the autumn and winter 
months of 1851 in the ' Garden of England.' Both the 
artists were young — the one twenty-four, the other twenty- 
two ; the brains of both were teeming with thoughts and 
noble ideals, and both were intent upon transferring to 
canvas a faithful record of Nature's charms. Holman- 
Hunt was engaged upon his ' Hirehng Shepherd ' ; 
Millais had almost completed ' Ophelia.' It was too 
late to begin another large subject, and he decided to 
give the remaining time of their stay to the garden wall. 
The young artists talked freely about their work and aims. 



68 BROTHERS IN ART 

Holman-Hiint had expressed an opinion that ' pictures 
should never deal with the meetings of lovers if they are 
only lovers.' This touched closely the subject Millais 
had taken in hand. During a walk to Shotover he raised 
the point. His friend explained that to his thinking lovers 
should not be ' pryed upon ' by painters ; that such 
pictures, if badly done, were despicable ; if well done, 
out of place ; and that the only justification of that class 
of subjects would be the absence of merely personal 
feeling on the part of the dramatis personae and their 
obsession ' by generous thought of a larger world.' Millais 
grasped the distinction at once, but his design was 
finished and the background for it largely advanced. A 
Uttle later Holman-Hunt, Millais, and Collins were to- 
gether, the day's work done. Millais was bantering 
Collins on his High-Churchism, Holman-Hunt was deeply 
absorbed in making a sketch to illustrate Rev. iii. 20. 
Millais stepped across to look over. ' But what is this 
small sketch at the side ? ' Holman-Hunt explained 
that it was the outcome of their talk about lovers in 
pictures — a small design representing the daughter of a 
Lancastrian nobleman on her father's castle walls, her 
enemy lover by her, booted and spurred, a rope-ladder 
fixed to the castellated parapet, and the girl's mind dis- 
tracted between inchnation and duty. ' Capital idea ! ' 
said Millais. ' We'll utiHze it for the picture.' Yes, but 
there were no ramparts at hand, no distant view. ' Well, 
then I'll make him a cavaher and her a Puritan maiden 
meeting by stealth in a garden.' But that was too worn 
a theme. Millais reflected for a moment, then, ' I've 
got it ! The Huguenots ! All good Catholics had to wear 
a badge.' He wrote to his mother to look up details at 



DEATH VERSUS DISHONOUR 69 

the British Museum, and, having these, made a new 
design and retained the ivied brick wall as a background. 

The picture produced an immense sensation when it 
was exhibited at the Academy of 1852. The British 
pubUc was more than satisfied. Three subsequent paint- 
ings completed a series of four, ' The Huguenot,' ' The 
Proscribed Royalist,' ' The Order of Release,' ' The 
Black Brunswicker,' each portraying some beautiful 
aspect of woman's loving devotion. 

It is the particular charm of this picture that it tells 
so much and yet leaves so much to the imagination. It 
represents an incident on the eve of St, Bartholomew's 
day — not an incident actually related, but such an incident 
as must have occurred. On August 22, 1572, Admiral 
CoHgny, the King's adviser and leader of the Protestant 
party in France, was attacked in the streets of Paris. 
The city was filled with Huguenots who had gathered 
for the approaching wedding of Henry of Navarre and 
Marguerite de Valois. Following the attempted assassina- 
tion armed bands of Huguenot noblemen rode through the 
streets shouting ' Down with the Guisards.' The fears 
of Charles IX were wrought upon by the Queen-Mother 
and her party. His throne was declared to be in danger, 
and he was induced to issue an order for the destruction 
of the Admiral ; ' and kill,' he added, ' every Huguenot 
at the same time.' The Due de Guise took prompt 
measures. An order was issued that when the great bell 
of the Palais de Justice sounded at dawn on St. 
Bartholomew's day, August 24, every good CathoUc must 
bind a strip of white linen round his arm and place a fair 
white cross in his cap. All who were not thus marked 
were subject to indiscriminate slaughter. On that 



70 BROTHERS IN ART 

day Admiral Coligny perished, and by nightfall the Seine 
was choked with the corpses of some four thousand 
massacred Huguenots. 

Millais's painting depicts the parting of two lovers on 
the eve of that dread day. The man is a Huguenot, the 
woman a Catholic. Murder is in the air. Who can say 
what wiU happen within twenty-four hours ? She pleads 
with her lover to accept the badge ; she seeks to knot it 
round his arm. Terror and wistful tenderness are in 
her eyes, but he, whilst pressing her head to his breast 
and gazing into her eyes with a look of ineffable sadness 
and affection, is loosening the Imen strip, the badge of a 
hated rehgion that he will die rather than accept, the 
badge of hfe-long principles forsworn under the pressure 
of fear. Again it is death versus dishonour. But there 
is a difference. In this case it is the woman who, imder 
the constraint of love, not for herself but for her lover, 
would have him sweep aside his scruples and give out- 
ward recognition at least to that form of religion which 
she herself firmly beheved to be the only true form, and 
it is the man who puts honour not only before death but 
before that which is stronger than death — before love. 
MiUais, not less than Hohnan-Hunt, was a man of the 
strictest honour, and from different angles the two young 
artists have recognized and portrayed with startling 
vividness the same great fundamental truth. ' What 
shaU it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul ? ' 



THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA ' 
(holman-hunt) 

So foul a crime how can a man forgive. 

Or how, forgiv'n, a faithless friend outUve ? 

The bonds of sacred comradeship betrayed, 

A woman's gracious tenderness repaid 

With falsest treachery, can these things be ? 

They pass the bounds of possibihty, 

Yet through our very human frailties shine 

A pity and compassion all divine. 

And hfe is shaped to great ends from above 

When anger and revenge give place to love. 



71 



CHAPTER III 

LOVE'S HAZARDS 
' The Two Gentlemen of Verona ' 

To Shakespeare Holman-Hunt devoted his youth ; his 
later years were mainly given to illustrating great themes 
drawn from the Bible. Before his day there were no 
great pictures of Shakespeare's subjects. A most fruit- 
ful field for the artist had been passed by. The picture 
of ' Claudio and Isabella ' completed, the artist turned 
again to the same source and focused his attention upon 
The Two Gentlemen of Verona ; and again with a quick 
eye for the most dramatic episode he seized upon the great 
reconciliation scene at the close of the play. This episode 
demanded for its setting forest scenery. Holman-Hunt 
went to Sevenoaks in Kent, and found precisely what he 
required in the wide spaces and lovely glades of Knole 
Park. Dante Gabriel Rossetti accompanied him, in- 
tending to paint a background for one of his own pictures, 
but the October winds blew the leaves about, disturbing 
his work, and in disgust he abandoned his picture and con- 
tented himself with watching the progress of his friend's. 
The amount of work accompUshed during those bleak 
October days can be judged from the wealth of detail 
in the picture — the trunks of the beeches, their mossy 

73 



74 BROTHERS IN ART 

roots, the mast upon the ground, the grass and the fungi, 
the whole Ht up by brilliant sunshine, giving beautiful 
effects of light and shadow. So much accomplished the 
artist returned to town and sought for models. W. P. 
Frith lent him armour — ' the waistcoat and trousers ' 
the servant-girl at his lodgings called it. Miss Siddal, 
later Mrs. Dante G. Rossetti, posed for Sylvia, two young 
barristers for Valentine and Proteus, and ' a very excellent 
young lassie ' for JuUa. Madox Brown saw the completed 
painting in the artist's studio and gave it unqualified 
praise, but when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy 
in 1851 it provoked a hurricane of furious criticism. The 
entire press condemned it, with the exception of the 
Spectator. Macaulay and Charles Kingsley were savage 
in their denunciation, but Ruskin, in a letter to The 
Times, bestowed warm commendation with the quaint 
reservation that neither Proteus nor any one else would 
have fallen in love with Sylvia's face. The artist acknow- 
ledged that he had not done his model justice, and later 
he rectified this detail. The storm of hostile criticism 
was disheartening. The picture came back unsold. But 
at the next Liverpool Academy it was awarded the 
annual prize of fifty pounds as the best picture of the 
year. At the end of 185 1 it was purchased by a Belfast 
gentleman for £168, and in 1887 it was sold at Christie's 
for £1,000. It is now in Birmingham Art Gallery, and 
accounted a national treasure. 

Famiharity with the story of the'^^play is necessary to 
a full appreciation of the picture. Valentine goes from 
Verona to the Court of Milan. His bosom friend, Proteus, 
follows him with vows of steadfast loyalty to his betrothed 
Julia. At Milan Valentine falls in love with the duke's 



LOVE'S HAZARDS 75 

daughter Sylvia, who returns his affection. The Duke 
is bent on marrying her to the wealthy and fooUsh old 
Thurio. Proteus, arriving, promptly loses his heart to 
Sylvia, and plots successfully to have Valentine banished. 
Juha, disguised as a page for her better protection, follows 
Proteus to Milan, and there learns his faithlessness. The 
banished Valentine is seized by outlaws and made their 
captain. Sylvia, escaping from her home, sets out to find 
him. She is intercepted in the forest and rescued by Proteus, 
whose rejected advances provoke him to offer violence. 
At this moment Valentine appears and upbraids Proteus 
with his treachery. Proteus makes full confession and 
entreats pardon, and Valentine, in excessive magnanimity, 
nearly spoils everything again by renouncing his claim 
to Sylvia in favour of Proteus, the ' page,' Julia, Ustening 
to his words in consternation. This is the moment de- 
picted : Valentine's dignified reproach beginning, ' Now 
I dare not say I have one friend ahve,' and the passionate 
sorrow of the repentant Proteus kneeling at his feet, 
' My shame and guilt confound me. Forgive me, 
Valentine.' 

Love's hazards are many, arising most frequently 
from man's fickleness, at other times from the clashing of 
opposed interests or other circumstances. Occasionally 
they end in comedy, usually in tragedy, but rarely in 
such a denouement as this play presents — a very riot of 
all-round forgiveness and the renewal of broken ties. 
The extraordinary suddenness of the repentance 
of Proteus is not altogether convincing, and the 
overdone magnanimity of Valentine must have been 
not a little disconcerting to Sylvia and Juha, but the 
main current of the play's teaching is unmistakable — 



76 BROTHERS IN ART 

that these tangles in life can only be unravelled by 
genuine contrition on the one side and full and generous 
forgiveness on the other. With admirable insight and 
masterly skill the artist has grasped the supreme incident 
of the play and given it adequate treatment. 

Stephens in 1887 criticized the picture adversely on 
the ground that it presented the ' curious anachronism ' 
that the swords of Valentine and Proteus were of Charles I 
make and the embroidered material of the costumes 
of Louis XIV design and manufacture. The artist, in 
a detailed and unanswerable reply, showed, on the 
evidence of early pictures and sculptures, that the type 
of swords painted fell well within the period of the play, 
and that the embroidery of the costumes, so far from 
being of Louis XIV design and manufacture, was due 
to his own handiwork. From such carping criticism 
it is pleasant to turn to Madox Brown's judgement, 
' Your picture seems to me without fault, and beautiful 
to its minutest detail,' and to Ruskin's praise of its 
marvellous truth in detail, its splendour in colour and 
the nobiUty of its general conception. 

' Claudio and Isabella ' and ' The Two Gentlemen 
of Verona ' are the only subjects Holman-Himt derived 
from Shakespeare. Great as these themes are, greater 
themes still fired his imagination, and from this time 
forward he used his marvellous gifts for the most part 
in painting pictures that had some deep allegorical 
significance, or in depicting the Man of GaUlee, not 
according to the conventions of ecclesiastical art, but 
as He must have appeared in His own country and to 
His own countrymen. 



• OPHELIA ' 

(millais) 

Oh, happier might thy lot have been. 

Dear, witless maid, 
Cast by the breaking of the ' envious sliver,' 

In silvered, richly flowered brocade 
Upon the bosom of this limpid river ; 

Thy part outplayed 
Had made of thee thy country's queen. 

Is it, in truth, by thy design 

Thou Hest here ? 
Or, all distraught, thy heedless footsteps slipping. 

Did this still pool become thy bier ? 
Thou shouldst have been in merry dances tripping. 

But one sad year 
Has shattered those sweet dreams of thine. 

The willows droop above thy head ; 

Upon a bough 
A robin whistles, o'er thee gaily swinging, 

But, slowly sinking, thou, ah ! thou 
Some strange, sweet, melancholy dirge art singing. 

Sleep maiden now. 
And blue forget-me-nots and roses red 

Shall deck a crystal casket for the dead. 



77 



LOVE'S HAZARDS 79 



* Ophelia ' 

Hamlet is not cheerful reading. The play begins with 
one murder and ends with five and the supposed suicide 
of Ophelia. The incident of Opheha's death is in no 
sense a pivot of the drama. It occupies a quite sub- 
ordinate place as one link in the chain of mischances 
that had its origin in the hesitancy of Hamlet to act 
upon tlie information conveyed by the ghost of his 
father. Neither has the incident any particular value 
from an ethical or didactic point of view. The unhappy 
maiden, deprived of reason by the double blow of her 
father's death at her lover's hand and her lover's banish- 
ment from the realm, wanders about distraught, sing- 
ing snatches of songs which it may be hoped she never 
would have sung in her right mind, and at last, either 
by accident or of dehberate purpose, falls into the 
river. 

In aU this there is nothing of moral value. It is impos- 
sible to imagine Hoknan-Hunt finding in this incident 
a subject for his brush. His temperament would have 
led him rather to select the chamber scene, in which 
Hamlet, supposing the guilty king to be behind the 
tapestry, unintentionally slays Polonius ; or the part- 
ing scene between Polonius and Laertes ; or the incident, 
key to the whole play, of the meeting between Hamlet 
and the ghost of his father. But the pathos and 
picturesqueness of Ophelia's passing from life would 
appeal naturally to Millais, and his keen sense for beauty 



8o BROTHERS IN ART 

would be touched by the lines — the most beautiful 
lines in the play — which tell the story : 

There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds 

Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke, 

WTien down her weedy trophies, and herself. 

Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide. 

And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up ; 

WTiich time she chanted snatches of old tunes. 

As one incapable of her own distress, 

Or like a creature native and indued 

Unto that element : but long it could not be, 

Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, 

Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay 

To muddy death. 

OpheUa is not one of the strong characters in Shakes- 
peare's wonderful portrait-gallery of womanhood, but 
there is something infinitely pathetic in the spectacle of 
this heart-broken girl, her brain touched by sorrow, 
floating down the stream singing her last swan-song 
till she sank beneath the water. Millais has caught all 
the pity and pathos of it and invested the incident with 
a rare beauty. This is not drowTiing, but the floating 
of a gentle spirit to a haven of eternal rest. It was a 
moot point whether the distraught damsel cast away 
her hfe or was the victim of an accident. The picture 
seems to suggest the latter. ' Her death was doubtful,' 
said the priests, and therefore they would have denied 
her burial rites, but, under pressure, 'her obsequies 
have been as far enlarged as we have warrantise.' To 
look upon this serene face is to endorse the words of 
Laertes : 

Lay her in the earth ; 
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh 
May violets spring ! I tell thee, churlish priest, 
A ministering angel shall my sister be 
When thou liest howling. 



LOVE'S HAZARDS 8i 

For Ophelia it was love's hazard to be betrothed to a 
man of the highest intellectual gifts and the best inten- 
tions, whose irresoluteness of purpose and delay in 
action involved himself and those dearest to him in 
disaster. But at least death is made beautiful for her ; 
no emaciation of disease, no paraphernalia of the sick- 
chamber ; the tender green of the overhanging willows 
for canopy, flowering rush, and dog-rose, and river 
daisy, and meadow-sweet to deck her couch, and a 
limpid strecim to enclose her fair form as in a casket 
of crystal. ?j 

This picture was commenced in the summer of 1851 
on the banks of a Uttle Surrey stream, where it flows 
by Cuddington, between Surbiton and Ewell. This 
place had been discovered by Holman-Hunt and Millais 
a few weeks earUer during a day's exploration. The 
artists almost despaired of finding their ideal back- 
grounds, when suddenly at a bend of the stream, they 
came upon this spot. ' Could anything be more per- 
fect ? ' Millais exclaimed. Willow-herb in full flower 
crowned the farther bank, irises rose up by the water 
edge, a profusion of wild flowers lay on the surface and 
scented the meadow-land, and the clear stream flowed 
tranquiUy between grassy banks under a canopy of 
foHage. Here Millais set up his easel. Two imles 
away up-stream Holman-Hunt worked upon his 
' Hirehng Shepherd.' The artists walked each 
morning from their lodgings, first at Surbiton and 
afterwards at Worcester Park Farm, to a stile 
which gave access to the meadows and the stream. 
There they parted for their day's work and met 
again in the evening. They rose at six o'clock, were 

F 



82 BROTHERS IN ART 

at work at eight, and returned at seven, finding 
delightful opportunities in their goings to and fro to 
discuss their aims and hopes. Occasionally they visited 
each other's pitch to obser^'^e the progress of their 
pictures. 

Their work was not without hindrances. Two swans 
greatly interfered \sdth Millais, destroying at times 
every water-weed within reach on the precise spot 
he was painting ; flies were a perpetual nuisance ; 
a bull roamed the fields ; inquisitive haymakers swarmed 
round the artists with bold requests for baksheesh, and 
a farmer threatened them with a summons for trespass- 
ing upon his land. But right through the autumn 
months into the keen frosts of December the artists 
worked on, and then returned to their studios to paint 
there the figures in their pictures. Miss Siddal, who 
had posed for Sylvia in Holman-Hunt's ' Two Gentle- 
men of Verona,' posed for Ophelia in MiUais's picture, 
a much more arduous undertaking. It was a bitterly 
cold December that year. The model lay in a large 
bath filled with water warmed by lamps. So absorbed 
was the artist in his work that on one occasion 
the lamps went out, unnoticed, and the model re- 
mained in the water till numb with cold. A severe 
chill followed. The artist was threatened with an 
action for £50 damages, and compromised matters by 
paying the doctor's bill. Happily the lady quickly 
recovered. 

In the picture as first painted a water-rat appeared, 
introduced to give an idea of the lonely peacefukiess 
of the spot. It did that, but it suggested other ideas 
also, and on C. R. Leslie's advice the artist erased this 



LOVE'S HAZARDS 83 

feature. The robin on the branch, in the top left-hand 
comer of the picture, pouring forth his joyous song, 
contrasts strangely and beautifully with the slowly 
sinking maiden chanting her death dirge. For Ophelia's 
dress Millais bought in an old clothes' shop ' a splendid 
lady's ancient dress, flowered over in silver embroidery.' 
It was old and dirty, but it cost four pounds, no trifle 
to the young and struggling artist. So absolutely true 
to Nature is the painting of flowers and weeds that a 
professor of botany, unable to take his pupils into the 
country and lecture there upon the objects before 
them, took them to the Guildhall where ' Ophelia ' was 
being exhibited, and found the flowers and plants in 
the picture as instructive as Nature herself. This 
picture is an admirable example of Pre-Raphaelite 
methods in those earher days — a faithful observation 
and interpretation of Nature subordinated to the poetic 
conception of the artist. ' We were never " Realists," ' 
says Holman-Hunt. ' In agreeing to use the utmost 
elaboration in painting our first pictures, we never meant 
more than to insist that the practice was essential 
for training the eye and hand of the young artist ; 
we should not have admitted that the relinquishment 
of this habit of work by a matured painter would 
make him an apostate Pre-Raphaelite. I am the 
freer to say this as I have retained later than did 
either of my companions the restrained handhng of a 
student.' 

' Ophelia ' was exhibited at the Academy of 1852, 
and * received with whispering respect,' the brother in 
art gladly records, ' even with enthusiasm.' ' The 
Huguenot ' and ' The Hireling Shepherd ' were exhibited 



84 BROTHERS IN ART 

the same year. The picture was sold for three hundred 
guineas, and finally acquired for the National Gallery 
of British Art. 



'THE HIRELING SHEPHERD' 

(holman-hunt) 

What hast thou caught, shepherd, what hast thou 
caught ? 
Knowest thou not that these minutes of leisure. 
These sweet stolen moments of dalliance and pleasure, 
To the sheep thou shouldst care for, with peril are 
fraught ? 

They are feeding, unheeded, on apples and com. 

The sheep for the feeding of which thou hast wages. 
But the moth thou hast taken thy notice engages, 

And the maiden wastes with thee the hours of the mom. 

Perceivest thou, shepherd, what token such bear ? 

Between wings of purple a bare skull is grinning ; 

For the mad quest of pleasure is but the beginning, 
And the end of the quest is a slough of despair. 

' Tis the hawk-moth, the death's-head, ah ! shepherd, 
beware ; 

The symbol of pleasure, of ease, and of beauty 

Divorced from fidelity, scorning at duty. 
And the imprint of death will be always found there. 

Back to thy sheep, shepherd, back to thy sheep ; 
Will the gayest moth captured afford compensation 
In the day of approval or sharp condemnation 

For a single lamb lost, thou wast trusted to keep? 



85 



CHAPTER IV 
HEEDLESS YOUTH AND ALERT OLD AGE 

Heedless Youth : ' The Hireling Shepherd ' 

This picture, commenced at the same time and in the 
same place as Millais's ' OpheUa,' and exhibited amongst 
the Academy paintings of the same year, 1852, is not a 
pastoral fantasy but an allegory. During the artist's 
stay at Worcester Park Farm, the old house near Cheam 
with its magnificent avenue of elms, a mansion built by 
Charles II for one of his favourites, there had been ample 
leisure on wet days and during the long dark evenings for 
reading. Holman-Hunt had been greatly interested in 
The Camp and the Caravan, sent to him from Oxford by 
Mr. Combe. The book revived the longings of his boy- 
hood to visit the Holy Land and paint pictures from 
sacred story on the very ground where the scenes were 
enacted. Millais also caught the enthusiasm, and for a 
time seriously contemplated visiting Palestine with his 
friend, but eventually abandoned the idea. It is probable, 
therefore, that when HoLman-Hunt began upon this 
canvas he would have in mind the words of St. 
John's Gospel, ' He that is not a shepherd but an 
hireling.' He must have longed for a Syrian shep- 
herd as model, and for a Syrian landscape, but as 
this was impossible at the time he has given the parable 

87 



88 BROTHERS IN ART 

an English setting, with Surrey comland and orchard and 
thatched cottages for landscape, and English peasants 
and sheep for figures. And for this he had warrant, if 
warrant were needed, in Edgar's nonsense-lines from 
King Lear, Act iii., Scene 6 : 

Sleepest, or wakest thou, jolly shepherd ? 

Thy sheep be in the corn ; 
And for one blast of thy miniken mouth 

Thy sheep shall take no harm. 

Certainly the shepherd of the picture is a ' jolly shepherd,' 
though by no means a drowsy one. He is very much 
awake to a form of diversion in which all regard to the 
welfare of the sheep is abandoned. They are doing 
themselves mischief feeding on the com and apples, 
and no blast of the horn is likely to disturb them. The 
shepherd is a hireUng, without personal interest in the 
flock, and without conscience enough to guard them in 
his master's interest. Shakespeare's adjective de- 
scriptive of the shepherd's mouth gives the key-note to 
his character and to the significance of the picture. The 
word is variously spelt. In the ' Universal ' edition of 
Shakespeare by the editor of the Chandos Classics it 
appears as ' miniken ' ; in other editions as ' minnikin.' 
Chambers's Twentieth-CenUiry Dictionary gives the word 
' minikin ' a diminutive from the old Dutch minne, love, 
with the meaning, as a noun, of ' httle darhng,' and as an 
adjective ' small.' Bayley's Seventeenth-Century Dictionary 
has ' minnekin,' from the Saxon for a nun, and the 
significance ' a nice dame, a mincing lass, a proud minks.' 
From whichever source Shakespeare's word is derived, it 
is fairly clear that a ' minnikin mouth ' as applied to a 



HEEDLESS YOUTH 89 

man is hardly a complimentary expression. It con- 
veys a suggestion of weakness, and it suits well the figure 
of the picture — a man wasting the midday hours in 
dalliance instead of giving attention to his duties. 

But there is something further. The shepherd has 
caught and is holding out to his companion, who on her 
part seems Httle disposed to study natural history, a 
fine specimen of a moth. It is a variety of the hawk-moth, 
vivid in colouring and distinguished by a peculiar marking 
closely resembling a death's-head. Is this merely a 
pretty toy offered by the shepherd to his companion, or is 
there some covert significance in this detail ? At least 
it suggests the fact that all pleasure procured at the ex- 
pense of duty and aU talent exercised without regard to 
righteousness are stamped with the insignia of decay. 
In this particular instance the shepherd's joyous flirtation 
threatened mischief to the flock. Even the shepherdess 
is obhvious of the fact that the very lamb Ipng in her lap 
is munching an apple. 

At the time when this picture was painted controversy 
was stiU raging hotly around the Oxford Movement. Only 
a few years before Newman, in his notorious Tract No. 90, 
had attempted to prove that the Thirty-nine Articles were 
not incompatible with certain Roman Catholic dogmas, 
and W. G. Ward had attacked the Articles themselves. 
In 1844 and the following years several distinguished 
clergymen, including Manning and Newman, had seceded 
to Rome. Holman-Hunt had come into close touch with 
this ferment in the religious world during his recent visits 
to Oxford where he found himself at the very centre of 
the High Church party. Changes made in breaking 
down what he considered ' the beadledom of Church 



90 BROTHERS IN ART 

service ' he entirely approved, but certain indications 
seemed to him ' ominous of impending priestcraft.' 
A httle later the artist found some of his fiercest 
opponents amongst the High Church party, and that 
not on the ground of his departure from the con- 
ventions of art, but because his pictures failed to harmonize 
with their dogmas. It is possible to surmise, therefore, 
that the death's-head moth in this picture may contain, 
by way of allegory, some allusion to the controversy of the 
period. Whether or no, there was then, as there is now, 
a grave danger of the shepherds of the nation proving 
themselves to be only hirehng shepherds by caring more 
for the death's-head moth of ornate ritual and priestly 
vestments than for the proper sustenance of their flocks. 

But the picture suggests a still wider lesson. In art 
and music and hterature — those three great guardians 
of humanity — if there be any turning aside from the 
noblest service the sheep are neglected, whilst the shep- 
herds charm foolish souls with death's-head moths. A 
debased hterature bears the badge of corruption. The 
finest artistic talent may be so employed that the artist's 
gifts are worse than wasted. Even music that should be 
attuned only to heavenly harmonies may become an ac- 
companiment to a dansc macabre. If these shepherds 
of the flock are but hirehng shepherds, keen on the 
wage to be secured, but careless as to the interests to be 
guarded, infinite mischief must needs be the result. 

' The Hirehng Shepherd ' was exhibited in 1852. 
Weeks passed, and there was no sign of a purchaser. 
Then came an offer of three hundred guineas. The 
picture was finally acquired by the Manchester Art 
Gallery. 



'THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE' 

(millais) 

The mariner takes his rest, but not 

The leisure of slothful ease. 
For his brain is ever at work to plot 

A passage through Arctic seas, 
Though his quarter-deck now be a homely cot 

In the grip of the keen salt breeze. 

His daughter of glorious triumphs reads 

Gained under the midnight sun. 
But the old sea-dog is for greater deeds. 

For a conquest not yet won ; 
And Britain could do it, should do it, he pleads ; 

By Britain it must be done. 

And if every Briton were staunch as he. 

To the Empire's flag as true. 
As dauntless in spirit and quick to see 

What a kingdom may dare and do. 
Great Britain the realm of realms might be 

The whole of the wide world through. 



91 



ALERT OLD AGE 93 



* The North- West Passage ' 

This picture belongs to the middle period of Millais's 
career. It is placed here because it presents a group of 
ideas in exact antithesis to those suggested by ' The 
HireUng Shepherd.' That picture represents heedless 
youth ; this depicts alert old age. The old sea-captain 
has lost nothing of the enthusiasm of earher days. His 
infiiTnities limit him to his home, but in imagination he 
still roams the world. His telescope lies close to hand, for 
the ships that pass from time to time are more to him 
than all the panorama of hfe on land. His sight has 
become feeble, but his daughter supplies the remedy. 
Her clear young eyes do duty for him. So homely and 
so touchingly simple is the picture that at the first glance 
it might almost seem to be a beautiful illustration of 
decKning age on the one hand and daughterly affection 
and devotion on the other. But it is much more than 
that. The important figure is the old sea-dog, with his 
still piercing glance, his firm mouth, and expression of 
intent interest. The point of the picture is not what the 
daughter is doing, but what he is thinking, for the ever- 
active brain is wrestling with some problem. The old 
foho volume upon the girl's lap is not her choice, but his, 
and its contents may be surmised from the chart spread 
out upon the table. She is reading some thrilling story 
of discoveries in uncharted seas; of repeated attempts 
made, and repeated failures experienced ; of death bravely 
faced, and hardships bravely endured. But the reading 



94 BROTHERS IN ART 

has not driven the old man's thought to the long-passed 
days. Oh, there must be stirring enough memories rising 
up in his mind, but his thought is in the future. There 
is a mystery of the North yet to be solved. There is a 
passage, a short cut, to the far East yet to be discovered. 
It was the common desire of the day that to England 
should fall the glory of resolving that riddle of the North. 
' It might be done, and England ought to do it ' — that 
is the old man's thought. Had he been younger he would 
have been the first to volunteer for any expedition, how- 
ever hazardous and uncertain. But if that cannot be, 
he will not sink down into luxurious ease. If any thought, 
any words of his can help, they will not be withheld. 
' England ought.' Duty first. Never for a moment did 
the idea cross the mind of the young shepherd, intent on 
his pretty girl and his death's-head moth, ' England ex- 
pects every man to do his duty.' Never for a moment 
will that ideal be lost sight of by this old seasoned and 
disciplined sailor. ' It might be done, and it ought to be 
done ' — that is the spirit that makes a great nation. 
Not a quixotic pursuit of mad and impossible ambitions, 
but a cool, reasoned judgement of what comes 
within the range of the practicable, and then no 
yielding under plea of difficulty and danger, but, once 
the duty recognized, persistent and unflinching effort to 
accomplish it. 

And if that spirit is good for nations it is not less so for 
individuals. It might be, it ought to be, it shall be — 
that is the Une of thought that, for man or woman, boy 
or girl, leads on to success. It is the spirit that has made 
Great Britain what she is, and the salt that alone can save 
the national life from corruption. There are too many 



ALERT OLD AGE 95 

hireling shepherds about, ready on the slightest pretext, 
or without any, to leave the work lying to hand for idle 
pleasure. The death's-head moth is everywhere 
apparent. A restless spirit is abroad. Duty is shunned 
as of sour visage, and Pleasure is exercising her utmost 
fascination. If the fruits of victory are to be safely 
gathered in, and the nation's greatness re-established, 
youth will have to take its cue from this old sea-captain, 
and, studying earnestly what ought to be, resolve firmly 
that that shall be. 

The exhibition of ' The North-West Passage ' at the 
Royal Academy in 1874 immediately arrested pubhc 
attention. It was the most popular of all Millais's work 
at the time. Sir George Nares, who commanded the 
1879 North Pole Expedition, wrote to the artist to say 
that he found the influence of the picture upon the spirit 
of the nation quite remarkable. Happily, the picture is 
in the National Gallery of British Art, a perpetual plea 
for duty and courage. 

The artist was pecuHarly fortunate in securing Captain 
Trelawny as model for the old man in his picture. He 
was a remarkable character — ' JoUy old pirate,' his friends 
called him. His early Hfe was spent in the Mediterranean. 
He was taken prisoner by Greek pirates, married a daughter 
of their chief, and spent his honeymoon in a cave. Byron 
and Shelley were amongst his intimate friends. The 
artist had frequently met him. They were both at 
Leech's funeral, and equally overcome with grief. ' We 
must be friends,' said the captain, but he was very un- 
willing to carry friendship so far as to pose for the artist, 
and refused many requests. Mrs. Millais at last secured 
him, but only by agreeing to a curious bargain. He was 



96 BROTHERS IN ART 

interested in a company for the promotion of Turkish 
baths. For six Turkish baths taken by her he would 
give six sittings to her husband. The bargain was struck, 
tally of the baths required, and sitting for bath duly 
given. The Captain was a strict abstainer, and protested 
against the glass of grog placed by him at the sittings. 
It was removed accordingly and painted in subsequently. 
When he saw the picture in the Academy he was furious, 
and considered himself insulted, but later was content to 
transfer the blame to the artist's wife, for 'the Scots,' 
said he, 'are a nation of sots.' 

As first painted two of the artist's children were in- 
troduced into the picture turning a globe. Eventually 
the artist decided that this feature marred the simphcity 
of the composition. That part of the canvas was 
therefore cut away, a new piece inserted, and the Union 
Jack painted instead. 

The discovery of the North-West Passage did not, 
after all, fall to British seamanship. Thirty-one years 
after the painting of this picture Captain Amundsen, 
a Norwegian, completed the navigation of the passage in 
the Gjoa, and reached Fort Egbert, in Alaska, in December, 
1905. Three years later a still more notable triumph fell 
to America, when on April 6, 1909, Commander Peary 
planted the Stars and Stripes at the North Pole. But 
although these achievements do not stand to the credit 
of Great Britain, the spirit of the old sea captain is not 
dead. The pluck and endurance of British seamen of 
all ranks have been abundantly shown in the great war 
years of 1914 to 1919. There have been no ' hireling 
shepherds ' in the British Navy and Mercantile Marine. 



' STRAYED SHEEP ' 

(holman-hunt) 

In peril ! in peril ! though brilliant the day, 
Though tender the turf of the headland and sweet, 
\\liere the breath of the ocean disperses the heat, 
And the succulent pastures are soft to the feet ; 

In peril ! in peril ! the sheep are astray. 

And they know not, how should they ? the danger at 
hand. 

The curve of the cUffs and the lie of the land. 

But the fault is the farmer's neglect to repair 
Some sinister gap in the broken-down hedge. 
Or a wayfarer's failure to close and to wedge 
The gate of approach to so luring a ledge. 

Where the sweet-scented herbage is bait for the snare ; 

Oh, blue are the heavens, and blue is the deep. 

But tragic the fate of the wandering sheep ! 



97 



CHAPTER V 
PERIL AND RESCUE 

Peril : ' Strayed Sheep ' 

Charles Maude, of Bath, on seeing Holman-Hunt's 
* Hireling Shepherd ' at the 1852 Academy Exhibition, 
greatly desired to purchase it, but not being able to give 
the price — three hundred guineas — he arranged with the 
artist to paint for seventy guineas a rephca of the group 
of sheep in the picture. On consideration Holman-Hunt 
preferred to paint instead an original study. After 
commencing this he found it necessary to enlarge the 
canvas, and the time occupied in painting the picture so 
increased the cost that out-of-pocket expenses exceeded 
the amount of the commission. Whilst recognizing, 
therefore, Mr. Maude's claim, he asked to be allowed to 
sell the picture and to make for him the rephca from the 
' Hireling Shepherd,' first agreed upon. The reply was 
an offer of one hundred and twenty guineas, cheerfully 
made and cheerfully accepted. The picture is now in 
the possession of Mrs. George LiUie Craik. 

For a background Hohnan-Hunt selected the Fairhght 
Cliffs near Hastings. Rooms were taken at CUvedale 
Farm. Edward Lear, author of The Book of Nonsense, 
desiring direction in his own work, accompanied the artist, 
and proved a dehghtful companion. His extensive 

99 



100 BROTHERS IN ART 

travels in Calabria, Albania, and Greece had furnished 
him with hundreds of sketches and a rich fund of stories, 
and in view of Holman-Hunt's contemplated visit to 
the Holy Land Lear's hints on joume^dng in the East were 
of pecuhar interest and value. 

The painting of the picture on FairUght Cliffs was 
greatly interfered with by bad weather. Equinoctial 
gales, rain, and fog caused the loss of many days, ' Poor 
old, weather-beaten canvas,' Charles Collins affectionately 
called it. Its success was indisputable. In 1853 it was 
awarded the £60 prize at Birmingham. Thomas Carlyle 
saw the picture in the artist's Chelsea studio and highly 
commended it. Mrs. Carlyle, in a letter to Holman- 
Hunt, remarked with characteristic dry humour on the 
value of her husband's praise — Mr. Carlyle being notorious 
for never praising except in negations — ' not a bad 
picture,' 'a picture not without a certain merit, &c., &c.' 
The painting has sometimes passed imder the title 
' Fairlight Downs,' but eventually it became known as 
the ' Strayed Sheep.' 

The question arises : Is this only an exquisite pastoral 
sketch, a beautiful blending of sky and sea and cliffs, 
with a distant view of Beachy Head, and an errant group 
of sheep \londerfuIly portrayed in every attitude of 
bewilderment and fear ; is it this — a pecuharly choice 
nature-study and nothing more — or has the picture some 
underlying significance ? WTien it is remembered that 
the original intention was to paint a group of sheep, and 
that the surroundings therefore, splendid as they are, 
form a subsidiarj'^ feature, and further that this group 
of sheep was suggested by the sheep in ' The HireUng 
Shepherd ' picture — a picture with an obvious allegorical 



PERIL loi 

meaning — the suggestion is not remote that in this picture 
also there may be a certain allegorical element. Whether 
or not that was in the artist's mind, the picture certainly 
offers food for thought. Here are strayed sheep, one 
lame and lying on its side, and all in peril. They are 
not under the shepherd's immediate supervision. They 
have been left to graze on the downs, and they have 
wandered into this dangerous position into which they 
could not have come but for carelessness on somebody's 
part. Either they have made their way through a gap 
in the hedge or they have passed through a gate thought- 
lessly left open. In ' The Hirehng Shepherd ' the sheep 
are in peril through the carelessness of their keeper, 
who whiles away his time, heedless that his sheep are 
browsing upon com and apples ; here the sheep are in 
peril of laming themselves amongst these rocks or falhng 
over these precipitous cliffs through the neghgence of 
the transgressor who has broken down the hedge, of the 
farmer who has failed to repair it, or of the wayfarer who 
has left a gate open. The peril is of a different nature, 
but not less real, and the responsibility for any mischief 
ensuing rests upon somebody's wrongdoing or folly, 
for sheep will stray if they can stray. 

Men and women in the mass resemble sheep in this 
fatal tendency to wander into perilous places, and it is 
criminal foUy to neglect to erect, or to break down, the 
necessary defensive barriers. It may be objected — and 
in fact when the erection of barriers is proposed it in- 
variably is objected — that men cannot be made righteous 
by laws. There is an element of truth in the saying, 
but a far larger element of misconception. It is amazing 
to what lengths we are prepared to go to recover sheep that 



102 BROTHERS IN ART 

have fallen over the cliffs when the simple closing of a 
gate would have safeguarded the entire flock, and still 
more amazing to witness with what deliberate intent 
hedges are broken down, regardless of the consequences 
which must needs follow. 

In those great problems of modem civilization which 
every year become more urgent, the problems of temper- 
ance and social purity, this two-fold foUy is abundantly 
evident. We spend our thousands, nay, our millions, 
upon our workhouses, our lunatic asylums, our courts 
of justice, our police force, our hospitals, making heroic 
efforts to deal with the stray sheep of the community, 
when at a stroke, by the adequate control of the liquor 
traf&c the foohsh ones might be saved from themselves 
and the community from the burden of rescuing and caring 
for them, and most frequently from the disaster of 
losing them altogether. Slowly the consciousness of 
this stupendous folly is dawning, and the policy of ' pre- 
vention is better than cure ' begins to look more 
reasonable. 

But if it is criminal folly to leave wide open the gates 
that lead to perilous places, what shaU be said about 
the absolute wickedness of breaking down those hedges 
which are barriers between social purity and social 
lawlessness ? 

The lesson of Holman-Hunt's picture is. Close the gates 
and make good the hedges. Guard the sheep, so prone 
to stray, from these perilous places. But if the danger 
to the sheep stirs no compunction, surely the peril to the 
lambs of the flock might arouse the consideration and 
compassion of the most thoughtless. 



' THE KNIGHT-ERRANT ' 

(millais) 

A noble dame once on a time, 

In the old days of darksome deeds, 
When men held as the creed of creeds 

That might is right, and many a crime 

Was thereby wrought ; a noble dame 

Was waylaid, robbed and stripped, and bound 
Fast to a tree, and helpless found 

By her worst foe, who that way came. 

' Sir Knight,' she cried, ' a wretched fate 
Dehvers me into thy hands, 
I pray thee loose me from these bands, 

Nor take advantage of my state.' 

' Lady,' quoth he, ' thy nakedness. 

Thy piteous state and disarray. 

And thy defencelessness this day 
Are more to thee than costliest dress. 

' Thy weakness is become thy might. 

My loyal service here and now 

I plight thee in a solemn vow 
Upon my honour as a knight.' 

Therewith he drew his keen-edged sword 

And, glance averted, lest his eyes 

Should covet such a noble prize, 
With one stroke severed every cord. 
103 



104 BROTHERS IN ART 

Her limbs, benumbed when first unbound, 
He chafed as with a woman's touch, 
And of her raiment gathering such 

As still lay scattered on the ground. 

He garbed her in the scant attire. 
Then placed her on his gallant steed, 
And in the greatness of her need 

Forgot the strength of his desire ; 

Nor by a glance did he encroach, 
But brought the dame without delay 
To her own gates, then went his way, 

A knight sans peur et sans reproche. 



RESCUE 105 



* The Knight-Errant ' 

This picture was first exhibited in the new galleries of 
the Royal Academy in Piccadilly in the year 1870. It 
is Millais's one and only painting from the nude. It 
found no purchaser on this account, and remained for 
four years in the artist's possession. In 1874 a dealer 
bought it, and having received this hall-mark of approval, 
the picture at once gained favour with the public and 
was acknowledged to be one of the finest examples of 
the painter's art. It was finally purchased by Sir Henry 
Tate and presented to the Tate Gallery. 

Applying Holman-Hunt's dictum as to the representa- 
tion of lovers, that to portray lovers whose occupation is 
only lovemaking is unjustifiable, a piece of pictorial 
espionage, but that the representation of lovers at some 
great crisis in Ufe is not only justifiable but artistically 
noble, this picture has its true raison d'etre. Judged by 
this canon, the picture of a sohtary bather on the edge of 
a secluded pool would be an infringement of good taste. 
Emphasis would be placed upon nudity and the sug- 
gestion of prying inquisitiveness inevitable. In this 
picture the emphasis is placed upon the pitiable pUght 
of the woman and the chivalry of her dehverer, and other 
ideas fall into the background. Nudity is not the in- 
spiration of the subject but its contingency. This dis- 
tinction, deduced from Holman-Hunt's dictum, is of value 
in determining the tendency of art towards good or evil. 

The figures in this picture were painted from models. 



io6 BROTHERS IN ART 

and the woodland scenery is a transcript of the beauties 
of Wortley Chase. The exquisite delicacy of the tnise en 
scene is unmistakable. A crescent moon floods the glade 
with hght, gleams on the flesh of the victim, and is reflected 
from the shining armour of the knight. The subject is 
purely imagmative. It will be vam to search historical 
records for any special order of knight-errant. Any 
knight who went forth in quest of adventure came under 
this appellation. The stories of such adventures are to 
be sought, not in historical episodes, but in the glowing, 
romantic Uterature of the twelfth and thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. The nearest approach to an order 
of knight-errantry will be found in the institution of the 
Order of the Glorious Virgin Mary in France in the year 
1233. The knights of this Order were young men of high 
birth, who, under the title ' Les Freres Joyeux,' banded 
together for the redress of injuries and the preservation 
of pubHc safety. They undertook vows of obedience and 
conjugal chastity, and pledged themselves to the defence 
of widows and orphans. It can well be imagined that 
in mediaeval ages, when public security was at the lowest 
ebb and bands of lawless robbers roamed through every 
country, such an incident as this would be of not in- 
frequent occurrence. This lady has been set upon, robbed, 
stripped, and left bound to a tree, and sad would her fate 
have been but for the opportune arrival of this wandering 
knight. It has not been without peril to himself that 
he effects this rescue. An armed man prone upon the 
ground testifies that his trusty blade has wrought sterner 
deeds than the severing of these cords. 

Since the picture is an miaginative one, the hberty has 
been taken of exercising imagination in the accompanying 



RESCUE 107 

poem. For the highest chivalry is that which is ready 
not only to rescue the helpless and distressed, but ready 
to render such service when there are strong underlying 
motives for withholding it. The leading feature of the 
picture is the self-restraint of the knightly rescuer. As 
first painted, the lady faced the spectator. Millais's 
son remembers seeing the picture thus as it hung in his 
father's drawmg-room at Cromwell Place. But it oc- 
curred to the artist that the head turned aside would be 
more consistent with a woman's natural shrinking, and 
he repainted the face as it is now. In keeping with this 
averted glance of womanly modesty is the averted glance, 
the steadfast upward gaze, of true knightliness. 

There is a bewitching glamour about these old romantic 
stories. We are apt to think that, in our prosaic days, 
the age of chivalry has passed. The very reverse is the 
real truth. For there is another side to knighthood. 
Speaking generally, these magnificent beings with glitter- 
ing armour and high-mettled chargers had a very strict 
code of honour as regarded their superiors or equals, and 
a strict code of gallantry towards fair and noble women, 
but towards their inferiors, men or women, no such 
knightly conduct was extended or expected. Their 
chivalry in one direction was counterbalanced by their 
brutality in others. High regard for the poor and help- 
less, for the busy millions of the world's toilers, for totter- 
ing old age and for the nation's childhood, is a modem 
development of the chivalrous spirit. And never has 
the world witnessed such chivalry, in the sense of com- 
radeship, sacrifice, consideration for the broken, charity 
even towards enemies, as that evoked by the terrible experi- 
ences of the last few years. And more than that, the 



io8 BROTHERS IN ART 

newest and most conspicuous development of the principle 
of knight-errantry is exemplified to-day in woman's life. 
One illustration will suffice. It can be matched by 
countless others. During the war small-pox in its most 
virulent form broke out in Serbia. A suspected case 
occurred at Salonika. The victim was an enemy, a 
Turkish prisoner. A young nurse volimteered to imder- 
take the case. Alone she nursed the sick man in a small 
hut many miles from the city. Food and water were 
taken to a spot a mile distant from the hut, and fetched 
by the nurse. For a month, single-handed, she held to her 
post through days of arduous toil and nights of wearying 
vigil. Then came a day when at the spot to which the 
rations were brought a note was found, a terse note from 
the young nurse : ' Patient out of danger. Am stricken 
and sending him here. Isolate for convalescence. No 
hope for me. Useless to risk valuable hfe.' And in that 
lonely hut, miles away from her friends, where she had 
nursed her sick enemy back to Ufe, the young heroine died. 
The long annals of romantic chivalry have no instance 
of knight-errantry to equal that. 

The days of mail-clad knights, with their emblazoned 
shields and picturesque adventures, have passed, and 
with them many of the tyrannies and injustices of an 
oppressive feudalism ; but the spirit of chivalry survives, 
and it strikes deeper and reaches farther than ever it did 
in the world's most romantic period. 



' THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD ' 

(holman-hunt) 

Behind this barred door — darkness ; 

Darkness of strange bewilderment and doubt 
Deeper than midnight gloom without, 
Darkness of dull despair and sin, 
A shackled soul shut up within, 

A shackled soul in darkness. 

Or, peradventure — brilliance ; 

The dazzling splendour of immense success. 

Achieved ambitions numberless. 

Feasting and Hghts and sportive din, 

A madly merry soul within, 
A merry soul and brilUance. 

Or, peradventure — sorrow ; 

Sorrow and loneHness, the precious springs 

Of hfe's so sweet imaginings 

Dried at their very origin, 

A stricken soul shut up within, 
A stricken soul in sorrow. 

Before this door One passing by 
Knocks, waits, and Ustens to the cry 
Of sobbing sorrow from within, 
Of boisterous mirth or frantic sin ; 
The radiant halo round His head. 
The bright beams by His lantern shed, 

109 



no BROTHERS IN ART 

Proclaim His glorious Sovereignty : 

Light of the whole wide world is He. 

A diadem adorns His brow, 

A circlet once of thorns, but now 

A golden cro\vn ; deep in His eyes 

A look of pitying surprise 

That grief or joy should be content 

To dwell in this poor tenement, 

Behind this weed-encumbered door. 

Imprisoned thus for evermore, 

\Mien one stands here to lead the soul 

Through midnight darkness to its goal. 

Behind this door — Humanity ; 
And aU the problems of the present age. 
The ripening of man's heritage, 
Or thwarting of his destiny. 
Find here their master-key — shaU He, 
The Light of aU the ages, be 

Henceforth thy Guide — Humanity ? 



CHAPTER VI 

PERSUASION VERSUS COERCION 

Persuasion : ' The Light of the World ' 

In the happy after-dinner hour of a late autumn even- 
ing in 185 1 the artists were in their sitting-room at 
Worcester Park Farm, They were spending their days 
painting their pictures, ' The Hirehng Shepherd ' and 
'Ophelia/ by the Uttle stream that rises at Ewell, in 
Surrey. Holman-Hunt's absorption in a sketch he was 
making excited Millais's curiosity. In reply to the 
question ' WTiatever are you doing ? ' he explained 
that he was illustrating the text, ' Behold I stand at 
the door and knock ' ; that he proposed to make it a 
night scene, to give point to the lantern carried by 
Christ as the bearer of hght to the sinner within, and 
to have a door choked up with weeds to show that it 
had not been opened for a long time, and in the back- 
ground an orchard. From this pencilled sketch sprang 
the now world-famous picture. 

A little later, with this idea in his mind, the artist 
started on a dark night to meet Charles CoUins at the 
Maiden railway-station. The path led past a long- 
abandoned hut, formerly used by gunpowder workers. 
Holman-Hmit, desiring to see how it looked at night 
by the rays of the lantern he carried, made his way 
through the long grass to it. On the riverside 
a locked door was overgrown with ivy, and the step 



112 BROTHERS IN ART 

choked with weeds. ' I stood,' he says, ' and dwelt 
upon the desolation of the scene, and pictured in mind 
the darkness of that inner chamber, barred up by man 
and Nature ahke.' Here was precisely the desolate 
habitation required for the picture. Proceeding on his 
way, the artist recalled a curious incident that occurred 
four years earlier. He had arrived on a pitch-dark 
night by the last train at Ewell station. The station- 
master, carrj-ing a lantern, walked home with him to 
his uncle's house, the Rectory Farm at Ewell. Under 
some heavy trees a ' mysterious midnight roamer ' 
met them. He had ' the semblance of a stately, tall 
man wrapped in white drapery round the head and 
down to the feet.' He stopped within a few paces, 
gazed solemnly, said nothing, turned aside, and ' paced 
majestically forward.' ' A ghost ! ' exclaimed the station- 
master. The artist asked for the lantern that he might 
pursue it, but the stationmaster had seen ' more than 
enough ' and absolutely refused. At the point where 
the road entered the village two men declared they had 
been there ten minutes but nobody had passed. Repeated 
inquiries during following days elicited nothing. The 
mystery was never solved. But the memory of the 
incident suggested the figure for the picture. A canvas 
was obtained and the picture commenced at once. 
It was pamted on moonUght nights in the old farm 
orchard. Happily, though winter was at hand, the 
leaves and fruit had not all disappeared. For protec- 
tion from the cold the artist had a httle hut made of 
hurdles and sat with his feet in a sack of straw, working 
from 9 p.m. till five o'clock in the morning, on the 
first occasion frightening, and frightened by, the village 



PERSUASION 113 

policeman, each taking the other for the ghost of the 
haunted avenue of ehns. The work was continued on 
moonUght nights to nearly the end of December, a 
December of hard frosts. Millais's diary gives glimpses 
of the artist at work. November 7, 1851 : ' Twelve 
o'clock. Have this moment left him in a straw hut 
cheerfully working by a lantern from some contorted 
apple-tree trunks, washed with the phosphor hght of 
a perfect moon.' And again, in a letter to Mr. Combe, 
November 17 : ' Hunt nightly working out of doors 
in an orchard painting moonUght.' The picture was 
finished at the artist's studio in Chelsea. A metal- 
worker made the lantern in brass from the artist's design. 
For the head of Christ the artist used whatever features 
of his friends served his purpose. Amongst others, 
Christina Rossetti sat to him. The ' gravity and sweet- 
ness of her expression ' were particularly valuable, 
and he worked direct on to the canvas from her face. 

Thomas Carlyle and his wife came to see the finished 
picture in the artist's studio. After approving other 
works, the Chelsea sage turned to ' The Light of the 
World.' His criticism was uncompromising : ' You 
call that thing, I ween, a picture of Jesus Christ.' Then 
followed a diatribe in which the philosopher dubbed 
the picture ' a mere papistical fancy,' and condemned 
all portraits of Christ by great painters with the excep- 
tion of Albert Diirer's, which received modified 
commendation. 

The picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy 
in 1854. Press criticisms reached the artist at Jerusalem 
in June. ' A most eccentric and mysterious picture. . . . 
Altogether this picture is a failure,' the Athenaeum 

H 



114 BROTHERS IN ART 

declared. The Times dismissed it in a few contemptuous 
words. Other journals followed suit. But Ruskin 
pronounced it ' one of the very noblest works of sacred 
art ever produced in this or any other age,' not only 
for the beauty of its symbolism but for the marvel of 
its technique. The picture was bought by Mr. Combe 
of Oxford for four hundred guineas, and upon his death 
it was presented by his widow to Keble College. At 
an exhibition of the artist's works in Bond Street in 
1887 ' The Light of the World ' was found to be badly 
damaged. For eleven years it had been over hot-air 
pipes, which had been frizzHng the painting. Happily 
the artist was able to repair the whole of the mischief, 
but it cost him four or five weeks' labour to do this. 
Fearing for the safety of the picture, he painted a replica, 
life-size. This he had on hand for several years. It 
was bought by the Rt. Hon. Charles Booth and presented 
to St. Paul's Cathedral. This version can be distinguished 
from the Keble College painting by a crescent, symbol 
of the Mohammedan faith, introduced into the lantern 
— the artist's suggestion that some hght streamed 
upon the world's darkness through the religion of Islam, 
a view that has also been finely expressed in Haweis's 
'Light of the Ages.' For the truly catholic spirit of 
the artist recognized the fact that God reveals Him- 
self in many ways, and that the great Light-Bearer will 
not despise the illumination of truth through whatever 
perforation it shines from the lamp of truth which is 
His alone. 

The history of this picture notably illustrates the 
wisdom of leaving to time's verdict all sincere and 
patient work. The judgement of the Press in 1854 



PERSUASION 115 

has been completely set aside. Whether regard be 
paid to the beautiful and simple symboUsm of the paint- 
ing or to the masterly treatment of the subject and the 
marvellous execution in every detail, it stands to-day 
as one of the world's great pictures, and its appeal to 
the reUgious instinct is beyond question. And when 
it is remembered that the artist was only twenty-six 
when he painted it, the greatness of his triumph is 
further enhanced. In the matter of technique only 
Ruskin's shrewd criticism is worth noting : ' Examine 
the ivy,' he says ; ' there wiU not be found in it a single 
clear outhne. All is the most exquisite mystery of 
colour becoming reaUty at its due distance. Examine 
the gems on the robe ; not one wiU be made out in form, 
yet there is not one of all those minute points of green 
colour but it has two or three distinctly varied shades 
of green in it, giving it mysterious value and lustre.' 

Turning from the mere skill of the artist's hand to 
the revelation of the artist's thought, ' The Light of the 
World ' offers wide scope for the play of the imagina- 
tion. Different temperaments will read more or less 
into the picture in addition to what the artist intended 
to convey. Ruskin himself, for instance, saw in the 
white robe the power of the Spirit symbohzed ; in the 
rayed crown of gold, interwoven with a Hving crown 
of thorns, the leaves for the healing of the nations ; in 
the illumination shed by halo and lantern, the two-fold 
Ught of peace and of conscience, the hght of the latter 
red and fierce, falling only on closed door and weeds 
and a fallen apple, 'marking that the entire awaken- 
ing of the conscience is due not merely to committed 
but to hereditary sin,' and that the Hght from the halo 



ii6 BROTHERS IN ART 

is that of ' the hope of salvation.' Simpler and more 
convincing is the artist's own interpretation of his 
picture : ' The closed door the obstinately shut mind ; 
the weeds the cumber of daily neglect, the accumulated 
hindrances of sloth ; the orchard the garden of delect- 
able fruit for the dainty feast of the soul ; the music of 
the still small voice the summons to the sluggard to 
become a zealous labourer under the divine Master ; 
the bat, flitting about only in darkness, a natural symbol 
of ignorance ; the kingly and priestly dress of Christ 
the sign of His reign over the body and the soul.' Also, 
the artist explains, a night scene is represented to 
illustrate the saying, ' Thy word is a lamp unto my 
feet,' and to enforce the caution to sleeping souls, ' The 
night is far spent, the day is at hand,' and he adds the 
significant warning, ' The symboHsm was designed to 
elucidate, not to mystify, truth.' 

Does this picture indicate a request for admission, 
or is this a summons ? Is it the desire of the kingly 
visitor to enter into this mean abode, or is this a call 
to the occupant to come forth ? Holrnan-Hunt's own 
explanation seems to favour the latter idea, and to 
confine his illustration to the words, ' Behold I stand 
at the door and knock.' If so, that would give additional 
point to his discountenancing of Millais's proposal to 
paint a companion picture on the further words, ' I 
will come in and sup with him.' Viewed in this light, 
the picture represents an isolated soul shut in with its 
sins, or its gaiety or its sorrow, and the plea of the Christ 
that it should open this long-closed door, and, forsaking 
the poor tenement, find without the ' delectable fruit 
for the soul's dainty feast ' and travel with Christ through 



PERSUASION 117 

the darkness, guided by the lamp of truth, to the glory 
of His own abode. 

A yet wider application may be given to the picture 
— the widest of all. It can be interpreted as Christ 
standing before the door of Humanity ; of Humanity 
locked in with its passions and bhndness and griefs and 
sins ; humanity hving its poor cramped hfe, yet with 
such infinite possibilities. And these weeds become 
then those false dogmas of the Church ; those unchristian 
ideals that have arrogantly assumed divine sanction, 
and which have made it not easier, but immeasurably 
more difficult for humanity to open this door and go 
forth to its Lord. To-day, as never before, the Christ 
is knocking at the world's door — this poor, miserable, 
bloodstained hovel of a world. If only there were a 
response, if only the Christ-spirit entered into all nations, 
what a world this might be ! What a large, free, glorious, 
triumphant hfe for humanity ! 

There is the further lesson, suggested by the text, and 
emphasized in the picture, that Christ's triumph is a 
victory of persuasion. ' Behold I stand at the door and 
knock.' The face of the kingly visitor expresses tender- 
ness, pity, concern, and the attitude is that of one listening 
intently for some response. For this is not a door to be 
forced from without, but to be opened from within. 
Appeal there is, ' the music of the still smaU voice, the 
summons to the sluggard,' but no violence. ReHgion 
has no worth and no driving-power that has been accepted 
under compulsion. The knock, the summons, the mes- 
sage to mind and heart, this and no more, and if there be 
no answer, the passing on of the Gracious Friend and 
perhaps no return visit ; for His own words of sorrowing 



ii8 BROTHERS IN ART 

pity over the city He loved were : ' If thou hadst known 
in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto 
peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes,' followed by 
the intimation that the visitation of mercy having met with 
no response, the next visitation would be one of judgement 
— not the tender plea of the merciful king, but the trenches 
and battering-rams, and overpowering assault of a bitter 
foe. There is no darkness so black, for individual or for 
nation, as that which ensues when the rejected Light- 
Bearer passes on, carrying the lamp of truth with Him. 
But the responsibihty for this is with man. The divine 
method is one of scrupulous respect for the human will, 
the summons from without, the opening of the door from 
within, and that opening of the door an absolutely 
voluntary act. In this great picture of Holman-Hunt's 
that solemn fact is writ large. 

In July 19 19 it became necessary to repair some 
damage to the frame of the Keble College version of 
'The Light of the World.' The Warden of the 
College, Professor Walter Lock, discovered then that 
upon the edge of the picture the artist had painted the 
words, ' Me quoque non praetermisso, Domine.' The 
Professor points out that the grammatical construction 
makes it possible to interpret the words either as a 
prayer or as a thanksgiving, — ' Not forgetting me, O 
Lord,' or • Not having forgotten me.' The words may 
have been added when the picture was first painted, 
or when the canvas was restored by the artist in 1887. 
It was not intended that they should be seen. The 
fortunate accident that brought them to light reveals 
the devout spirit of the artist and gives deeper 
significance to the message of his picture. 



' MERCY : ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY ' 

(millais) 

Da^^^l ! The dawn of the day of blood. 
From the steeples of churches the clanging bells boom, 
Their long, quivering tones sound a message of doom ; 
This day shall thy foes. Holy Mother Church, fall, 
' Kill, kill,' is the order, ' Yea, slaughter them all ' ; 
And the soldiery shot them and hacked them, 

and trampled them down in the mire and the mud. 

' Come ! ' Grim call of the holy priest. 
The soldier responding, with unbuckled sword. 
Goes forth to destroy the accursed of the Lord ; 
Sweet womanhood mercy with judgement would blend — 
' Hands off, woman ! Death by the sword be their end. 
They shall perish this day from the face of the earth 

from the mightiest unto the least.' 

Night ! Silence, and darkness, and blood. 
Still and stark in the streets lie the piles of the slain. 
The corpses of Huguenots choke up the Seine, 
A holocaust smaller had never sufficed 
For the good of the Church and Thy honour, O Christ ; 
So — for Thy honour ! — they shot them and hacked them 

and trampled them down in the mire and the mud. 



"9 



COERCION 121 



• Mercy : St. Bartholomew's Day ' 

There is a curious undesigned coincidence between this 
picture and Holman-Hunt's ' Light of the World.' Each 
has a door, and a figure standing at the door. The 
coincidence ends there. Everything else is in sharp 
contrast. The figure at the closed door in the one picture' 
stands for divine compassion, the hooded figure in this 
picture for hellish bigotry. Persuasion is the dominant 
note in the one case, compulsion in the other, and com- 
pulsion of so terrible and hideous a nature that the 
nun, though of the same faith as the other two actors 
in this drama, strives to detain the armed man from going 
forth on his mission of massacre. The attempt is in vain. 
In ' The Huguenot ' the sturdy Protestant gently loosens 
the distinguishing badge of the CathoUc faith his lover 
would attach to his arm ; in this picture the Catholic 
soldier, around whose left arm the white Unen strip is 
securely knotted, forcibly removes the merciful nun's 
restraining hand. His convictions are unalterable. Death 
to the heretics, conversion or assassination — let them 
choose ; and he sets out prepared ruthlessly to thrust 
that sharp sword into the body of man or woman found 
without the distinguishing badge of the CathoUc faith. 

That day, August 24, 1572, and the succeeding days, 
during which the carnage spread from town to town, gave 
to the world a lurid illustration of the awful cruelty which 
even a Christian Church is capable of when once the 
principle of coercion in rehgion is admitted. Tenible 



122 BROTHERS IN ART 

indeed was the slaughter. The streets of Paris 
were red with blood, and by night the river was choked 
with corpses. The massacre began when the bells rang 
out at dawn. Doors were forced open ; men, women, and 
children poured into the streets and fled shrieking from 
their murderers. Chains everywhere placed across the 
streets made escape impossible. Some sought the river. 
The boats usually moored there had been taken to the 
other side, and hundreds of Huguenots were brought to 
bay and slaughtered or driven into the river to drown. 
Those who remained in their houses were sought out and 
murdered, and the bodies were flung out of the windows. 
Such are the deeds to which the monk summons this 
CathoUc soldier, deeds from which he will not be held back 
even by the piteous entreaty of a nun and the restraining 
hands of womanly compassion. 

It has been said of course that this massacre was the 
outcome not of rehgious but of political feeling. It is 
true that the Catholics and the Huguenots were opposed 
parties in the State, but it is not less true that religious 
fanaticism and bigotry were made use of as tools and 
suppUed the dri\ing-power for canying out the policy 
of extermination. It was the exempHfication on a large 
scale, and by methods that were comparatively humane, 
of the doctrine of the Inquisition, that the Church is 
justified, for the salvation of their souls, in handing over 
the bodies of heretics to the civil authority for destruction. 

In the early stages of its development this persecuting 
spirit was not found in the Christian Church. Perhaps 
it suffered too much from persecution to inflict it. The 
Apostolic Fathers were indeed very jealous of any devia- 
tion from orthodox doctrine or of the growth of any new 



COERCION 123 

ideas, but they did not exercise severity upon the persons 
of those they considered in error. They combated false 
doctrine by appeals to reason and loyalty, and if argu- 
ments failed, the extremxC measure was the removal of 
the offender from the community, lest the contagion of 
heresy should spread. But with the alliance of the Church 
and the State in the fourth century a new policy was 
inaugurated. The arm of the law was invoked to enforce 
the decrees of ecclesiastical councils, and as the Church 
departed more and more widely from the simplicity in 
doctrine and ritual of the apostohc and sub-apostolic 
days, it became more rigorous in its measures to suppress 
all lapses from ' the faith.' In the fourth and fifth 
centuries active opposition to the Arians resulted in 
bloodshed ; in the ninth century the sword of the State 
was employed with merciless persistence by the Empress 
Theodora against the PauUcians, a reforming and anti- 
ecclesiastic sect in S3^ria and Armenia ; and from the 
beginning of the twelfth century onwards, persecution 
was the recognized method of the Church for preserving, 
by imprisonment, torture, the sword, and the stake, the 
purity of CathoHc doctrine. 

How fanatical and entirely unreasoning the persecuting 
spirit was may be judged from this incident. On the eve 
of the wholesale massacre of the Albigenses at Beziers 
during a crusade undertaken against the heretics in 1209 
by Simon de Montfort at the instigation of Pope Innocent 
III, an inquiry was made how the CathoHc inhabitants 
of the place should be distinguished. A Cistercian 
abbot repHed, ' Kill them all. God wiU know His own.' 
The advice was carried out, and some seven thousand 
men and women of various persuasions were destroyed. 



124 BROTHERS IN ART 

The world may be won by the gracious Messenger who 
knocks at the door of the heart, and waits for the loosening 
of its bolts in response to His ' Come unto Me,' but never 
can the cause of truth be advanced by the poUcy of St. 
Bartholomew's Day, or by the spirit underlying that 
poUcy. The soldier and the monk, in their mistaken 
zeal, are the emissaries of the devil ; the compassionate 
tenderness of the nun is the true embodiment of the spirit 
of Christianity. 

This picture was painted in 1886 and exhibited at the 
Royal Academy the year following. It gave the artist 
much trouble. ' Sometimes,' he said, ' I was happy over 
it, oftener wretched. People pass it by and go to a httle 
child picture, and cry " How sweet ! " Always the way 
with any attempt at something serious.' To-day the 
picture is in the National Gallery of British Art, an en- 
during protest against the spirit of intolerance. The 
Marchioness of Granby and the artist's daughter Sophie 
posed for the nun, his son Geoffroy for the soldier, and 
the Rev. Richard Lear for the monk. 



f 




' THE SCAPEGOAT ' 

« 

(holman-hunt) 

Cursed and driven forth, O hapless victim ; cursed — 
Cursed and driven forth to this forsaken land 
Of torrid rock and salt and burning sand. 

Of desolation and of torturing thirst. 

To wander on until the scarlet thread 

Bound to thy horns fade into ghostly white, 
Like to the bleaching bones that day and night 

Proclaim this spot a region of the dead. 

Em-blem art thou of Him who bore the blame 
Of this world's guilt, upon whose guiltless head 
The awful punishment unmerited 

Of all the sins of all the ages came : 

Emblem of that long persecuted Church 

That found no rest throughout Rome's wide domain. 
But suffering, through centuries of pain, 

Challenged the world her purity to smirch : 

Emblem of every man, of every brave 
And dauntless woman strong to bear 
The world's unjust reproaches, strong to dare 

Exile, and in the wilderness a grave. 

O thou poor hapless victim, shall we not 

Pity thee, love thee in thy desolation? 

Shall we not love and pity man or nation 
Cursed and driven forth to share thy bitter lot? 



xas 



CHAPTER VII 
VICTIMS 

' The Scapegoat ' 

The first-fruits of Holnian-Hunt's long cherished desire 
to visit the Holy Land and paint sacred story in the very 
places where it was enacted resulted in the commencement 
of the picture ' The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple.' 
But the difficulty of discovering and retaining suitable 
models proved so formidable that for a while he gave up 
the work and turned to another subject. Probably 
his careful study of Scripture and Rabbinical hterature 
for the first picture suggested the second. The descrip- 
tion of the release of the scapegoat as narrated in 
Leviticus xvi. arrested his attention. Writing to Millais 
on November lo, 1854, describing the subject and his 
intention to paint the picture on the shore of the Dead 
Sea, Holman-Hunt concludes, ' If I can contend with 
the difficulties and finish the picture at Gosdoom, it 
cannot fail to be interesting, if only as a representation 
of one of the most remarkable spots in the world ; and 
I am sanguine that it may be further a means of leading 
any reflecting Jews to see a reference to the Messiah as 
He was, and not (as they understand) a temporal king.' 
It occurred to the artist in the first instance that the 
subject was one peculiarly adapted to Landseer's genius 

127 



128 BROTHERS IN ART 

and he seriously thought of suggesting it to him, but 
on further consideration he recognized that the opportunity 
of painting the picture with its natural Syrian back- 
ground was of great worth, and he decided to undertake 
it himself. As an artist he grasped the pictorial value 
of the subject ; as a Bible student higher considerations 
moved him. 

The undertaking involved so much difficulty and 
peril that only the indomitable pluck and perseverance 
of the painter brought it to a successful issue. A pre- 
liminary joinmey was made to the shores of the Dead 
Sea to find the most suitable spot for his work. This 
proved to be close to the Western shore, at the southern 
extremity of the lake, near to a mountain, the greater 
part of which was pure salt, known as Oosdoom, the 
name identifying, perhaps the site of the Sodom of 
Abraham's day. After much inquiry a goatherd was 
found willing to sell a white goat from his flock to be 
used as a model. The artist now waited till the approach 
of the Day of Atonement brought the precise period 
of the year required for painting the background. In 
November, 1854, he returned to Oosdoom. Laborious 
preparations were necessary for the expedition. Bag- 
gage animals had to be engaged, and an escort WcLS 
required, for the whole country was in a disturbed con- 
dition. On his first journey to the Dead Sea the artist 
had been attacked by Arabs in the Wady Kerith. To 
travel without an armed guard and make a prolonged 
stay in that wild and desolate region was to court disaster. 
Even with a guard the risks were serious. On the first 
day the goat proved refractory, and it made so much 
noise that there was imminent danger of dra\\ing very 



VICTIMS 129 

undesirable hostile attention to the little party. On 
the second day Abou Daouk's encampment was reached, 
and the Sheikh was asked to furnish guides. He de- 
clared an escort of one hundred men at a cost of £500 
to be necessary. But he found more than his match 
in Holman-Hunt at bargaining. Finally, amidst shrieks 
of execration from by-standing Arabs, he consented to 
provide an escort of five at a cost of seven pounds, with 
a douceur of three hundred piastres for himself. The 
sheikh's nephew, Soleiman, was one of the five. He 
attached himself with dog-Uke fideUty to the artist, 
and was bitterly disappointed at the close of the expedi- 
tion that he failed to arrange a marriage between the 
artist and the sheikh's daughter, and to induce him to 
accept nomination in his own place as successor to the 
chieftaincy of the tribe. A camp was formed in the 
Wady Zuara, some miles from the shore of the Dead 
Sea. From this place, having breakfasted before dawn, 
the artist, with Soleiman, a mule to carry the artist's 
material, and a boy to mind his horse, proceeded 
each morning to the shore, where the artist worked 
till dark, pausing only at midday for lunch. The 
difficulties were great — the terrific heat, the scarcity 
of water, the plague of flies (on opening the mouth a 
crowd entered), and the perpetual danger of unwelcome 
visits from wandering Bedouins. But the glory of the 
landscape filled the artist with joy. ' Every minute 
the mountains became more gorgeous and solemn, the 
whole scene more unhke anything portrayed. Afar 
off aU seemed of the brilliancy and preciousness of 
jewels, while near it proved to be only salt and burnt 
lime, with decayed trees and broken branches brought 

I 



130 BROTHERS IN ART 

down by the rivers feeding the lake. Skeletons of 
animals, which had perished for the most part in cross- 
ing the Jordan and the Jabbok, had been swept here, 
and lay salt-covered, so that birds and beasts of prey 
left them untouched.' 

Chilly nights contrasted with blazing days. On 
rising from work the third day as the stars came out, 
the artist waltzed, with his rifle as partner, to warm 
himself. Soleiman was dehghted. ' You dance Hke 
a dervish,' he cried. ' You are one,' and he hailed his 
master as a brother. On the fourth night there was 
a scare in camp. The artist woke from deep sleep to 
find the tent door down and all within in disorder. 
Investigation showed that the goat, having broken 
loose, had entered and rummaged round for rations. 
Some days later, when the picture was far advanced, 
a peril too great to be disregarded obUged Holman- 
Hunt to strike camp and return. In the afternoon, 
whilst at work on the shore of the lake, Soleiman 
gave warning of the approach of robbers — three men 
on horseback and four on foot. He counselled im- 
mediate escape, and on the artist's refusal ran off to hide 
himself. In an hour the Arabs arrived and surrounded 
the artist. He worked on, one hand upon his double- 
barrelled gun. The horsemen were armed with long 
spears, the footmen with guns, swords, and clubs. A 
colloquy ensued. Was the artist alone ? ' No.' Where 
was his servant? 'In hiding.' Call him. 'You call 
him. I don't want him.' The plain resounded with 
cries for Soleiman. On assurance of safety he came 
out of his nook, and fabricated the most extraordinary 
story ; that his master was guarded by a himdred Arabs ; 



VICTIMS 131 

that from sunrise to sunset he wrote on paper with 
coloured inks ; that his gun had two souls, and his pistol 
would shoot as often as he Uked without loading ; that 
he was, in truth, a dancing dervish, and trusted in 
Allah ; and he then recorded the story of the cities of 
the plain as told him by Holman-Hunt, but with astound- 
ing embellishments. Finally the Arabs left, fully 
persuaded that the white goat was used to charm the 
ground, and that the picture would be taken to England, 
the ' coloured inks ' rubbed off, and the position of the 
four cities with their buried treasure found beneath. 
The danger of the return of these Arabs in larger numbers 
was too great to be risked, and as nothing remained 
to be done to the picture that could not be undertaken 
at Jerusalem, Holman-Hunt left. On the return journey 
the goat died, the party came between the cross-fire 
of opposed forces near Hebron, and were stopped by 
robbers between Hebron and Jerusalem, but putting 
on a bold face, the artist won through. His first care 
on reaching his house was to wash from the picture all 
stains of travel. Happily it had received no harm. 
Then another goat had to be found. For two months 
the search was in vain. At last a perfect model was 
obtained from beyond the Jordan. The next day it 
died. A week later a white kid was procured. This 
served the artist to the end, and was afterwards given 
to the children of a missionary. From the roof of 
Dr. Sims's house at Jerusalem Holman-Hunt painted 
the clouds in his picture. A tray covered with black 
mud baked in the sun and watered with a solution of 
salt brought from the Dead Sea served as model for the 
patch of foreground on which the goat stood. The 



132 BROTHERS IN ART 

animal, when led upon this, broke through the encrusta- 
tion exactly as on the shore of the Dead Sea. Except 
for the shallows round the feet the whole of the fore- 
ground was painted at Oosdoom. On June 15, 1855, 
' The Scapegoat ' was finished and put in its case. Rising 
at 4.30 the next morning, the artist rode with it to Jaffa 
and put it on board ship for England. 

Tliis story of the picture, condensed from the artist's 
autobiography, is given at some length, because of notable 
paintings few, if any, have so interesting a history. 
And how was this picture, the fruit of so much toil and 
risk — a picture painted at the peril of the artist's life 
— received ? The clergy naturally welcomed it. Gam- 
bart, the dealer, complained that it was uninteUigible. 
' Let your wife and the English girl with her in the 
carriage see it,' the artist suggested. ' The English 
read the Bible, more or less. Tell them the title only.' 
Alas ! the only comment the ladies had to make were : 
' A pecuhar kind of goat, you can see, by the ears — 
they droop so,' and ' Is that the wilderness now ? Are 
you intending to introduce any others of the flock ? ' 
Press criticism gave but meagre praise. Academy 
opinion was hostile, but the picture was weU placed 
at the Exhibition of 1856, and the pubhc was won im- 
mediately, so arresting was the subject both in its 
strange beauty and in its evident symbohsm. 

The artist has combined in his representation Rab- 
binical lore with the brief scriptural allusions to the 
scapegoat. According to the account in Leviticus, 
' the goat on which the lot feU for Azazel ' was sent 
away ' for Azazel into the wilderness.' Azazel was 
the supposed prince of demons inhabiting the wilderness 



VICTIMS 133 

of Judah, There is a close parallel between this passage 
and the New Testament record, ' Then was Jesus led 
up of (St. Maxk, 'driven forth by') the Spirit into the 
wilderness to be tempted of the devil.' In Jewish 
ceremony a scarlet fiUet was bound round the horns of 
the goat, which was then led from the Temple and 
driven into the wilderness. A portion of this fillet 
was kept in the Temple, and it was beUeved that this 
would turn white when the corresponding portion 
whitened as a token of the pardoned iniquity of the 
people. There is perhaps an allusion to this in the 
famihar passage, ' Though your sins be as scarlet, they 
shall be as white as snow ; though they be red hke crimson, 
they shall be as wool.' In later ages the scapegoat, 
instead of being driven out into the wilderness to perish 
of hunger and thirst, was cast from a rock in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jerusalem. 

In Holman-Hunt's view the scapegoat is the emblem 
of the suffering Messiah, and, by an extension of the 
idea, an emblem of His suffermg Church in the early 
centuries of bitter persecution. Carrying the thought 
stiU farther, the scapegoat is symbolic of any nation 
or individual suffering, though innocent, for the mis- 
deeds of others. To take in the fuU significance of this 
picture is to feel an infinite compassion for, and an 
infinite sense of obligation towards, those afflicted 
peoples, those heroic men and women to whom the 
words of Isaiah hii. are apphcable — we esteemed them 
smitten of God and afflicted, but the chastisement of 
our peace was upon them, and with their stripes we 
are healed. 

There are two versions of ' The Scapegoat ' In the 



134 BROTHERS IN ART 

smaller one, now in the Manchester Art Gallery, the 
goat is black, and a rainbow is introduced. WTien the 
artist on his first visit to the Dead Sea stood on the 
spot which he selected for his picture, ' a magnificent 
rainbow spanned the whole landscape.' Before he 
returned to Oosdoom he began this smaller version, 
and reproduced the rainbow. In the larger version, 
painted at Oosdoom, and now in the possession of Sir 
Cuthbert Quilter, Bart., the rainbow is omitted, and 
the goat is white. The I\Ianchester picture, first com- 
menced, was not completed until after the second visit 
to the Dead Sea, the record of which is given in this 
chapter. 



' THE BLIND GIRL ' 

(millais) 

Oh, perfect brilliance of a day 
When sunshine follows shower. 

When leaf and blade and stem and flower 
Upon their rich array 

A myriad liquid gems display, 
Bright jewels of the skies, 

Flung from the arc that spans the grey 

And thunderous clouds to melt away 
In lustrous harmonies. 

Alas ! the treasures of the light, 

The glow of earth and skies, 
Are veiled from these imseeing eyes ; 

No stars encrust the night. 
No sun at full meridian height 

Its dazzling radiance pours 
On sails of vessels gleaming white, 
On crested billows in the bight 

Foaming on rock-bound shores. 

But Nature still has other spells. 

The whisper of the trees, 
And borne upon the freshening breeze 

The chimes of village bells ; 
The rustling grass in fragrant dells. 

The murmur of the bees, 
The scent of heather from the fells. 
And, springing from eternal wells, 

Joys deeper yet than these : — 
135 



136 BROTHERS IN ART 

The inward visions of the soul, 

The heart's pure ecstasies, 
The soaring thoughts that spread and rise 

To a long-hoped-for goal 
When life shall yield no measured dole, 

When, sight restored again. 
As the mean contents of a bowl 
To seas that sweep from pole to pole. 

Shall be this narrow world of pain 

To some bright, limitless domain. 



VICTIMS 137 



* The Blind Girl ' 

When Holman-Hunt was at Fairlight, near Hastings, 
in 1852, Millais spent a week-end with him. He was 
so charmed with the place that he returned three years 
later and painted ' The Bhnd Girl ' in this neighbour- 
hood. The hiU in the distance, with its houses and 
church, is Winchelsea. The middle distance was painted 
in a hayfield near Rybridge at Bamhill, just outside 
Perth. Perth suppUed the models for the figures. The 
rooks and animals and the tortoise-sheU butterfly were 
aU painted from Nature. A curious defect marked 
the double rainbow. The second bow being a reflec- 
tion of the first, the colour should have been reversed. 
The artist overlooked this fact, and when the error was 
pointed out to him he painted the second bow again 
and gave the colours the correct reversal. The picture 
was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856 and at 
Birmingham, and received the Birmingham annual 
prize of £50. 

In a letter to Holman-Hunt, then in Palestine, Millais 
communicated his projected idea of the picture. His 
friend repHed from Jeinisalem, ' Your subject I think 
a very beautiful one. It is an incident such as makes 
people think and love more.' Madox Brown described 
the picture as ' a religious and a glorious one, God's 
bow in the sky double sign of a divine promise.' W. 
G. Rossetti said, ' One of the most touching and per- 
fect things I know ' ; and Professor Herkomer, on 



138 BROTHERS IN ART 

seeing the picture at Birmingham in 1893, wrote to 
the artist, ' I assure you that that work so fired me, so 
enchanted, and so altogether astonished me, that I am 
prepared to begin art all over again.' 

But the finest description of all is Ruskin's. ' The 
shower has been heavy, and still is in the distance 
where an intensely bright double rainbow is reheved 
against the departing thundercloud. The freshly cut 
grass is radiant through and through with the new 
sunshine. The weeds at the girl's side are as bright 
as a Byzantine enamel and inlaid with blue veronica; 
her upturned face all aglow with the fight, which seeks 
its way through her wet eyelashes.' 

The picture after passing through several hands 
was finally presented to the Birmingham Art Gallery 
in 1892 by the Rt. Hon. William Kenrick, P.C., as a 
permanent record of the success of the exhibition of 
P.R.B. work held in that city. 

The particular pathos of this picture is due to the 
subtle manner in which it indicates on the one side the 
wealth of beauty from which the bhnd are cut off — the 
gfittering raindrops, the exquisite effects of sunshine 
after storm, the prismatic colours of the rainbow, the 
tints of grass and foUage, the rare loveUness of a butter- 
fly's wings — and on the other side those sources of delight 
to which the blind are abnormally sensitive — the chime 
of bells, the song of birds, the rustUng of the trees, all 
the sweet music of Nature, the sensations of warmth 
and comfort — and, beyond these, the placid expression 
on the face suggests an inward peace derived from 
deeper sources of consolation. In a very true sense 
the blind are in innumerable instances victims, the 



VICTIMS 139 

scapegoats of society, suffering the penalties due to the 
cruelty or carelessness or ignorance of the community. 
They wander in a wilderness of darkness to which they 
have been condemned through no fault of their own. 
It may be too much to hope that the underlying causes 
will ever be entirely swept away, but at least modern 
science is aUve to those causes, and in rare cases by cure, 
but chiefly by prevention, the mischief is being steadily 
diminished. Happily, by a merciful provision, un- 
expected avenues of joy and activity open out to the 
bhnd and afford some compensation. The extent to 
which the senses of hearing and touch and taste and 
smell, in their heightened susceptibiUty, replace the 
lack of vision is a remarkable illustration of the law of 
adaptation to environment. One of the world's great 
blind men was Dr. Nicholas Sanderson. He became 
Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cam- 
bridge, filling the position but recently vacated by Sir 
Isaac Newton, and cariying out its duties with in- 
creasing reputation during twenty-eight years. His 
proficiency in science and mathematical knowledge 
was phenomenal. He was bom in a poor cottage in 
the Httle-known village of Thurlstone in the year 1682. 
As a labouring man's child, in days when education 
was considered imnecessary, even undesirable, for the 
poor, his prospects were dismal enough. He became 
blind before he was two years old. Local tradition 
reports that in his early boyhood he taught himself to 
read by passing his fingers over the inscriptions on the 
gravestones in the neighbouring churchyard of Penistone, 
and having thus possessed himself of the key to 
knowledge, made such use of it that the poor blind 



140 BROTHERS IN ART 

boy succeeded to the chair of England's greatest 
philosopher. 

John Pulsford, in Quiet Hours, tells a beautiful story 
of a blind girl who through her father's death was 
reduced from a life of ease to the necessity of earning 
her living by rough work. Her greatest treasure was 
her Braille copy of the Bible. In time she found to 
her distress that hard work was so destroying her sense 
of touch that her fingers could hardly distinguish the 
raised characters. She must either give up her work 
and starve or give up her Bible-reading. Lifting a 
volume to her hps to imprint upon it a farewell kiss, 
she found to her astonishment and deUght that her Hps 
could pick out the letters. I told this story to a blind 
girl. She had at the moment a h3min-book in Braille 
upon her knees. ' Can it be true ? ' I asked. ' Yes,' 
she said, 'I can quite beheve it. In the institution in 
which I was trained one of my companions had her 
right hand amputated. WTien the wound was healed 
she found that the skin over the stump was so sensitive 
that she was able to read b}^ her fist instead of her fingers.' 
* Read something ' I begged. She passed her fingers 
over the page and read with beautiful inflection of tones : 

I will not let Thee go. Should I forsake my bUss ? 

No ; Thou art mine 

And I am Thine ; 
Thee will I hold when all things else I miss. 

Her disposition was always cheerful and buoyant, 
for she had experience of ' the inward \nsions of the 
soul, the heart's pure ecstasies,' which Millais's picture 
suggests, justifying Madox Brown's comment upon it, 
' A religious picture and a glorious one.' 



'THE FINDING OF THE SAVIOUR IN THE TEMPLE' 
(holman-hunt) 

Well may your keen and searching glances bend, 
White-bearded rabbis, on this beardless boy. 
Whose daring words and face lit up with joy 

YoTir own dead creeds, your own cold hearts transcend. 

Too high for you His soaring thoughts extend. 
Too deep th' inquiries in His eager lips ; 
Ye question Him, His burning zeal outstrips 

The vain traditions ye would still defend. 

Even His mother fails to comprehend 
The thoughts that glow in these far-seeing eyes ; 
'My Son! My Son! Oh, wist Thou not,' she cries, 

' What fears for Thee beset our journey's end? * 
And strangely answered her that Boy of boys, 
' And wist not ye ' — His smile her hurt destroys — 
' My Father's business every hour employs ? ' 



141 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS 

' The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple ' 

In May of 1854, sailing in a native boat down the 
east branch of the Nile to Damietta, Holman-Hunt 
worked out the design for his picture of the boy Jesus 
in the Temple. In preparation for this he had studied 
carefully Exodus, Leviticus, the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
and other New Testament books, together with Josephus 
and the Talmud. His reading made clear the character 
of the principal feasts and fasts, but the more he read 
the more bewildering he found his subject. Many 
features in Jewish ceremonial had changed between the 
time of their institution and the period of Christ's life, 
and there were several questions to be determined : 
who the leading Rabbis were of Christ's day, what 
stage the rebuilding of the Temple had reached, the 
features of the Temple structure and its furnishing, 
with other matters. To an artist of Holman-Hunt's 
disposition, bent upon painting an incident from Christ's 
life in the very place where it occurred, and upon making 
the picture as reaUsticaUy true as possible, these 

143 



144 BROTHERS IN ART 

difficulties, on closer consideration, became so great that 
he almost despaired of canying out his purpose. But 
he hired a furnished house in Jerusalem and commenced 
the work. Every Saturday he went to the synagogues 
to acquaint himself more fully with Jewish rites and 
costumes and types of face. Immediately other dif- 
ficulties arose : trouble with domestic affairs, danger 
when he went out from ignorant and hostile fellahin. 
Privacy was impossible. He was followed everywhere ; 
demands for baksheesh were made by boys and girls, 
epithets such as ' dog,' ' pig of a Christian,' ' donkey,' 
hurled at him by men ; even actual violence was offered, 
so that he was obhged to apply to the Consul for pro- 
tection. But especially he found trouble with models. 
The Rabbis placed a ban upon their visiting the artist. 
By the interposition of Sir IMoses Llontefiore and Mr. 
Frederick W. Mocatta this was removed, but the strange 
prejudices and superstitions of the models themselves 
caused endless interruption to the work. One incident 
win illustrate the kind of difficulties that had to be 
faced and the need of all the artist's ready wit and 
unwearied patience to deal with them. A middle- 
aged Jew, having given one or two sittings, declined 
to continue on the ground that at the Day of Judge- 
ment, when his name was called, his portrait in the 
picture might have preceded him and his name upon 
the roll have been struck off as one already admitted 
to Paradise ; then, when he presented himself, he would 
be rejected as an impostor. Argument was impossible. 
The artist accepted the objection, and suggested that 
the difficulty might be obviated by baptizing the figure 
on the canvas under another name. To this the model 



THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS 145 

assented. His portrait in the picture was accordingly 
solemnly sprinkled and given the name ' Jack Robin- 
son,' and the Jew, fully satisfied, continued his sittings. 
From the roof of the house of a Canadian proselyte 
Holman-Hunt painted the C3^resses in the picture. 
The same man obtained for him from the master of the 
synagogue the loan for a few hours of the silver crown 
of the law. The last work done was the painting of 
the floor ' from slabs of local limestone rock represent- 
ing the pavement of the Court of the Temple polished 
by constant wear.' One exceptional stroke of good 
luck the artist had. The Pasha's secretary gave him 
an opportunity of entering the area of the Mosque of 
Omar. Guided by its custodian, a direct descendant 
of the official appointed centuries before by the Caliph 
Omar, he was even allowed, though with reluctance, 
to ascend the roof of As Sakreh, and in that brief hour 
he made a sketch of the walls and of Scopas, so achieving 
' a victory over what seemed an insuperable obstacle.' 
The picture, still incomplete, was packed and sent to 
England in 1855. So many and so great had been the 
difficulties encountered that for months the artist had 
suspended work upon it and painted in the interval 
'The Scapegoat.' Arriving in England, new difficulties 
beset him. Progress \vith the picture was arrested 
for want of money. There was nothing to be done but 
to abandon it for the time and paint what he could 
sell — replicas of previous pictures and such work as 
was immediately marketable. Sometimes for months 
not a day's work was added to the Temple picture. In 
1859 Mr. Combe of Oxford offered the artist a loan of 
;^300 to enable him to give his undivided attention to 



146 BROTHERS IN ART 

the completion of his great work. This generous aid 
enabled him to recommence, and in 1859 the picture 
was finished. Then arose the difficulty of finding a 
purchaser. The cost of producing the picture had 
been enormous. I he artist needed five thousand five 
hundred guineas to reimburse him for all the expenses 
involved, and he saw no hope of obtaining such a sum. 
Wilkie Collins suggested that Charles Dickens, as an 
acute man of business, might give valuable suggestions, 
and offered to interview him. The result was an invita- 
tion to the artist to call upon Dickens at Tavistock Square. 
A few questions ehcited the facts. How long had 
the picture taken to paint? Six years. The questions 
of cost at Jerusalem and elsewhere were gone into ; 
and the possible sources of revenue — the sale of the 
picture, its exhibition at a shilling a head to the public, 
the amount to be reaUzed from engravings. Finally 
Dickens gave as his verdict : * You want five thousand 
five hundred guineas ; a business man can afford to give 
it — £1,500 down, £1,000 in six months, and the balance 
in three years.' An interview with Gambart followed. 
The price asked staggered him. ' Impossible ! ' But 
finally he recognized the possibility, and accepted the 
terms. Upon exhibition the picture received the 
enthusiastic approval of the public. It was finally 
acquired by the Corporation of Birmingham, and the 
pubUc has, happily, ready access to one of the world's 
finest Biblical paintings. 

Within a year of its completion the picture narrowly 
escaped destruction. On a keen winter's morning a 
canopy erected over it took fire and fell. The flames 
spread rapidly. Only a pail of frozen water was at 



THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS 147 

hand. A lady flung her valuable Indian shawl to the 
attendant, and he extinguished the blaze with it. 
Fortunately the picture received little damage. In a 
week the artist was able to repair the mischief and the 
picture was on exhibition again. The lady's shawl 
was completely destroyed. Though advertised for, her 
name was not forthcoming. It was only years later 
that Holman-Hunt discovered that the rescue of his 
pictmre was due to the wife of Sir Walter Trevelyan. 

The subject of the picture speaks for itself. The 
artist has chosen the moment when the entrance of 
Joseph and Mary after their three days' anxious search 
breaks in upon the discussion between the Rabbis and 
the youthful inquirer after truth. The boy is neither 
disconcerted by the keen glances of the learned doctors 
of the Law nor by the anxious sohcitude and veiled 
reproaches of his parents. The conflicting emotions 
of the Rabbis — surprise, admiration, indignation ; the 
tender concern of the mother, not without a suggestion 
of natural vexation ; the deep seriousness of the boy 
Jesus, His growing conviction that He also was called 
to be a Teacher of Israel, and His supreme devotion to 
a God-given mission are finely depicted. The back- 
ground of the picture, a section of the Temple Court, 
with cypress-trees in the mid-distance and a glimpse 
of the hills beyond, is worthy of the grouping of the 
figures. The women of Bethlehem, distinguished for 
their beauty, furnished the type for the face of Mary, 
and the Rabbis of Jerusalem for the countenances of 
the doctors of the Law. But the central feature of 
the painting is this picture of ideal boyhood, this noble 
representation of the youthful Jesus, who from this 



148 BROTHERS IN ART 

utter absorption in His awakening consciousness to His 
great life-work turns away to spend long years in filial 
obedience to His parents and to the humble and laborious 
tasks of the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. 



'CHRIST IN THE HOUSE OF HIS PARENTS' 

(millais) 

' And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands ? 
Then he shall answer. Those with which I was wounded in the house 
of my friends ' (Zech. xiii. 6). 

Oh, sharp are the tools that the carpenter uses, 
And Httle their keenness the boy apprehends ; 

From His fingers all bleeding the warm, red blood oozes — 
Thou art wounded, O Christ, in the house of Thy friends. 

In boyhood, in manhood, and down through the ages 

Thy glory for ever with suffering blends ; 
Thy story writ large on the world's crimson pages 

Is of wounding received in the house of Thy friends. 

'Tis not to the cross that, once only, men nailed Thee, 

Not Calvary only Thy sacred flesh rends ; 
The Church of Thy planting has mocked Thee, assailed 
Thee, 

And wounded Thee sore in the house of Thy friends. 

As oft as in zeal for Thy honour she slaughters 

(When Thy honour by sword and by stake she defends) 

The staunchest and best of her sons and her daughters, 
Thou art wounded, O Christ, in the house of Thy friends. 

When Thy servants but half-hearted lip-service bring Thee, 
When rehgion its cloak to hypocrisy lends, 

When words of betrayal and broken oaths sting Thee, 
Oh, deep are Thy wounds in the house of Thy friends. 

149 



I50 BROTHERS IN ART 

When nation in war rises up against nation, 

And prayer, Prince of Peace, for Thy blessing ascends. 

And thou lookest on bloodshed and black desolation, 
Thou art grievously hurt in the house of Thy friends. 

Will the day ever dawn when Thy house shall be glorious ? 

The day when each people its Lord comprehends ? 
The day of Thy coming, O Christ, all victorious, 

To dwell without hurt in the house of Thy friends? 



THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS 151 



* Christ in the House of His Parents ' 

In the summer of 1849 Millais heard a sermon at Oxford 
from the text, ' And one shall say unto Him, What 
are these wounds in thine hands ? Then he shall 
answer. Those with which I was wounded in the house 
of my friends.' This suggested to him as a subject for 
a painting a scene — an imaginary scene — from the 
boyhood of Jesus. He would depict the boy Christ 
as hurt by one of the sharp tools in the shop of his father 
Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, and ministered to 
by His mother. He showed a pen-and-ink sketch 
embodying his idea to Holman-Hunt, and his friend 
agreed that there were great possibilities in it. The 
artist as he proceeded with the work entertained doubts 
about it, but he worked on with mingled feelings of 
hope and fear. He would not have a lazy model pose 
for Joseph. He arranged with a real carpenter to sit 
for him, and for background he decided upon a car- 
penter's shop in Oxford Street, a shop in which there 
were some planks of real cedar wood. In this shop 
he worked for many days, with the sound of tools con- 
tinually in his ears. Other models were his father and 
H. St. Ledger, used with the carpenter for the figure of 
Joseph; his mother's sister-in-law, Mrs. Hodgkinson 
for Mary ; Noel Humphrey for Christ, and Edwin Everitt 
for St. John. The picture was finished for the Royal 
Academy Exhibition of 1850. The night before the 
opening Holman-Hunt slept at Millais's house. Early 



152 BROTHERS IN ART 

in the morning the artists went to the Academy and 
found that their pictures, Hohnan-Hunt's ' A Converted 
British Family ' and Millais's ' Christ in the House of 
His Parents,' were again hung pendant. Holman- 
Hunt expressed his admiration of Millais's work. Millais 
exclaimed, ' It's the most beastly thing I ever saw. 
Come away.' ' It's truly marvellous,' his friend replied. 
Just then two fellow students glanced at the picture, 
turned away, and laughed. JMillais stopped them. 
He might himself dub his picture ' a beastly thing,' for 
he judged it by his own excessivety high standard ; but 
he knew, none better, how much hard and conscientious 
work had been put into it, and this open contempt stung 
him. Putting his hand upon the shoulder of one of 
the students he said, ' Do you know what you are 
doing ? Don't you see if you were to live to the age 
of Methuselah, both of you, and you were to improve 
every day of your life more than you will in the whole 
course of it, you would never be able to achieve any 
work fit to compare with that picture ? ' * We said 
nothing,' they objected. ' No,' Millais retorted, ' but 
you laughed defiantly in my face. Egregious fools ! ' 
They slunk away. Press criticism that year was par- 
ticularly severe upon the work of both artists. ' Pictorial 
blasphemy ' the Athenaeum termed this painting of Millais. 
The Times called it 'revolting, disgusting.' Epithets 
such as 'infamous,' 'iniquitous,' were hurled at it, and 
Charles Dickens denounced it in a leading article in 
Household Words with a malevolence that was ludicrous. 
The fact is, that apart from the anger aroused by the 
aims of the new school of young artists, Millais's picture 
struck a fresh note in Bibhcal illustration As the Gospel 



THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS 153 

of St. Mark was unpopular in the early Church on account 
of its graphic dehneation of the human side of our Lord's 
life, so much so that at one period but one MS. of the 
Gospel, and that a mutilated one, survived, so Millais's 
attempt to set forth the hfe of the divine Boy in its most 
homely aspect aroused a storm of indignation. Holman- 
Hunt's representation of Christ the Carpenter in his 
picture ' The Shadow of Death ' a few years later pro- 
duced in certain circles the same effect. But, in truth, 
if any adverse criticism is to be passed upon Millais's 
picture it should be from the very opposite point of 
view. The fault, if fault must be found, is not that it 
is too reahstic, but that it lacks in reahsm. It inevit- 
ably challenges comparison with ' The Finding of the 
Saviour in the Temple ' or ' The Shadow of Death ' 
in its want of local colour. But it must be remembered 
in justice to the artist, that whereas Holman-Hunt 
painted his pictures in the Holy Land, under all the 
stimulus of Oriental surroundings and with Jewish 
types for models, Millais had only an English joiner's 
shop at hand, and his means being inadequate to pro- 
cure Jewish models, he was obUged to make use of his 
own friends. The picture in consequence is not too 
realistic, but insufficiently reahstic. It is a bold effort 
in the right direction — a casting aside of the old con- 
ventional methods, and an honest attempt to portray 
the boyhood of Jesus in its natural beauty and simpUcity 
— and as an illustration of the text which suggested 
the subject the imaginative power of the picture is as 
beautiful as it is original. 

In spite of the critics the painting found a purchaser 
at once, and the artist received £300 for it. It is 



154 BROTHERS IN ART 

now in the possession of the Coq)oration of Birmingham 
and is exhibited in the Birmingham Art Gallery. 

Turning from the history of this picture to its signifi- 
C£ince, a wide range of thought is opened up. Whether 
intended or not, when taken in conjunction with the 
text that gave rise to it, the picture becomes an allegory. 
It suggests the terrible fact that the most grievous 
woimds that have been inflicted upon Christ, the most 
terrible injury that has been wrought to Him and to 
His gracious purposes, have been wrought by the people, 
and in the places where especially His honour was sup- 
posed to be held sacred. There has been no exhibition 
of the anti-Christ spirit outside His Church more 
bitter and uncompromising than that which has been 
manifest inside the Church. The merciless persecution 
of Christians by Christians ; the haughty arrogance of 
great prelates ; the cold-hearted indifference of professed 
followers of the Clirist ; the deadly formahty of worship 
offered to Him ; the utter misunderstanding of His 
spirit and purposes ; the jealousies and enmities between 
rival factions in His Church, — these things throughout 
the ages have been the repeated wounding of Christ in 
the house of His friends. The biting irony of G. F. 
Watts's picture, ' The Spnit of Christianity,' and the 
underlying significance of this picture of Millais, will 
have to be taken into account and acted upon if ever 
the Church of Christ is to fulfil its destiny, and Christianity 
to become, through its inlierent beneficence, the domina- 
ting faith amongst the great rehgious systems of the 
world. 



'THE SHADOW OF DEATH* 

(holman-hunt) 

What treasures of a sacred past are here, 

Laid by within this carven ivory chest — 

Crown, sceptre, robe — a monarch to invest. 
What memories a mother's heart to cheer ! 
Her lowly son must presently appear 

In all His glorious majesty confessed ; 

Ah ! not in vain the star-led Sages' quest 
Who came with these rare gifts the Christ-Child to revere. 

But, glancing up, a sudden fear descends. 
And on the mother's heart rests hke a pall ; 

In shivering dismay she holds her breath ; 
The Carpenter His weary arms extends, 

And by the noon-tide sun, cast on the wall, 

Lo ! the black shadow of a shameful death. 



X55 



CHAPTER IX 

FOREBODINGS 

' The Shadow of Death ' 

HoLMAN-HuNT reached England after his first visit to 
the Holy Land in February 1856. He was not able to 
return to the East until 1869. He secured a house known 
as Dar Berruk Dar in an elevated quarter of Jerusalem 
on a three-years' tenancy, with permission to enlarge 
certain of the windows. A large stable occupied the 
ground floor ; the living-rooms were reached by a flight 
of steps. The servants' rooms and offices encircled a 
courtyard. Above were other rooms and a flat, open 
roof. The house was said to be haunted. It might well 
seem so with its rattling windows and its abundance of 
rats, serpents, scorpions, and centipedes. But there 
were glorious views from the upper casements, and the 
whole of the Temple area came within the range of vision. 
Upon the flat roof two wooden huts were erected, one 
for the artist and one for his model. The huts moved upon 
rollers, and could be adjusted to varying conditions of 
light. 

It had been Holman-Hunt's intention, if he could have 
returned to Jerusalem earlier, to have painted a picture 
of Christ reading in the Synagogue at Nazareth. He 

157 



158 BROTHERS IN ART 

had patiently studied this subject, but the treatment of it 
was deferred for want of a suitable studio, and the in- 
tention was never carried out. He turned now instead to 
the humbler duties of Jesus prior to His Messianic call. 
The record of St. Mark's Gospel,' Is not this the carpenter?' 
arrested the artist's attention. Beyond this flash of 
light cast by St. Mark upon Christ's occupation up to the 
commencement of His ministry no other writer had 
dwelt upon this subject except Justin Martyr. Holman- 
Hunt felt ^the importance of emphasizing this fact in 
our Lord's human life, and round about this fact his 
imagination played. Would not the faith of the mother 
of Jesus be sorely tested when she contrasted the glorious 
predictions made at His birth with those long years of 
humble toil in the carpenter's shop, and the more so 
when she heard the mutterings of the brothers of Jesus 
that He was ' beside Himself ' ? How natural that from 
time to time she should examine with proud and lo\'ing 
interest those royal gifts brought years before by the 
Wise Men from the East — the golden crown, the sceptre, 
the kingly raiment, the censer for the enthronement — 
and strengthen her tested faith by gazing upon these 
marvellous memorials of the mysterious nativity. The 
artist would represent her in the act of opening a carved 
ivory chest which contained these treasures, whilst close 
at hand her son was occupied with his arduous toil, 
working hke an ordinary labourer with no indication any- 
where apparent of that predicted Messianic splendour. 
Ah ! but it must dawn presently, for what else could be the 
significance of these costly offerings ? And then sud- 
denly a terrible shock and a grievous foreboding — the 
Carpenter pausing for a moment in His work, stretching 



FOREBODINGS 159 

His arms for relief, lifting His face heavenwards, and 
murmuring words of prayer ; the mother glancing 
up, terrified by the shadow projected upon the wall and 
tool-rack, the sinister resemblance of a crucified man ; and 
the very moment of the revival of her faith the moment 
of the awakening of a presentiment of coming tragedy 
and of the anguish that would rend her heart. 

With this subject in his mind the artist visited and 
watched many native carpenters at work. Then, whilst 
his Jerusalem house was being made ready, he visited 
Bethlehem. There he hunted up such old-time tools as 
were used in Christ's day, tools hkely soon to be altogether 
abandoned for those of European design. For several 
weeks he worked in uninterrupted sunshine on the roof 
of the German Mission House at Bethlehem. This 
accommodation was due to the kindness of Miss Hofmann, 
the temporary custodian. During this period the Suez 
Canal was opened, and the Crown Prince of Prussia, 
passing from Egypt to Palestine, visited Bethlehem and 
rested for a midday meal at the German Mission. 
Holman-Hunt was introduced. The Prince named some 
of the artist's pictures and asked if he could see the work 
then on hand. The artist had to explain that it was only 
just begun and quite unintelligible. 

The difiiculty of securing models recurred. The 
Bethlehem people were superstitiously afraid of allowing 
their features to be transferred to canvas, but a timid 
woman having posed, though reluctantly, for the Virgin 
Mary, and no harm befalling, the most intelhgent people 
consented to sit for the artist at his Jerusalem studio 
when required. 

Dar Berruk Dar being now ready for occupation, 



i6o BROTHERS IN ART 

Holman-Hunt continued his work there for months. His 
picture necessitated a flat wall for a background. To 
relieve the monotony of this he introduced an open win- 
dow, and to provide a suitable landscape for the window 
outlook he made a four-days' journey to Nazareth and 
spent several days there in making sketches. Returning 
with these to Jerusalem he resumed his work. Then 
fresh difficulties sprang up. News of the Franco-German 
war disturbed pohtical conditions. There was insufficient 
rain, cisterns were empty, and children went about begging 
water in God's name. This was attributed to the open- 
ing of the Suez Canal. The model sitting for the figure 
of Christ proved unsatisfactory. He was a sad rascal at 
best. During the progress of the picture he was arrested 
and imprisoned on a charge of murder. The artist 
secured his release, but the model's skin, tanned to a 
chocolate hue, and his meagre Hmbs were a drawback. 
Happily as the artist was wandering through the lanes 
of Bethlehem he came upon just what he needed, a man 
of 'singularly noble form and beauty of expression.' He 
was a staunch member of the Greek Church, by name 
Jarius Hasboon. This man consented to pose, and from 
this model Holman-Hunt painted the head of Christ and 
modified the figure. It is interesting, and exceedingly 
pleasant, to have the artist's testimony to this model : 
' Undoubtedly the most truthful, honest, and dignified 
servant I ever met in Syria.' 

At last, after many difficulties and delays, the picture 
was finished and taken to Jaffa for shipment to England. 
At Jaffa it was exhibited to the Pasha and other dig- 
nitaries and to resident Europeans. During this ex- 
hibition a great hubbub arose outside. The shopkeepers 



FOREBODINGS i6i 

and workpeople clamoured to see the picture. They 
were admitted in batches of twenty. A mason com- 
plained that he was not allowed to touch the canvas. He 
wanted to feel the difference between the shavings, 
the flesh, the linen, the sky. Others were urgent that the 
picture should be turned round. They were shown the 
back of another canvas and told that there was no differ- 
ence. The answer entirely failed to satisfy them, for, 
said one, they had been twenty minutes looking at the 
front of Messiah and the back of Sit Miriam ; was it not 
natural that they should want to see the face of Sit 
Miriam and the back of the Christ ? No Roman Cathohcs 
came. They were forbidden by the priests on the ground 
that the Virgin was represented with her face hidden. 
This was considered ' a Protestant indignity to the 
Madonna.' 

Some months were spent by the artist in further amend- 
ment of the painting after its arrival in London. Messrs. 
Agnew & Sons bought it — £5,500 to be paid down for it 
and for the first study, and a similar sum in the future. 
The picture was exhibited in London and Oxford, and 
subsequently throughout the country. Lady Augusta 
Stanley informed the artist that Queen Victoria desired 
to see the picture at Buckingham Palace. It was taken 
there. The artist received a gracious message of Her 
Majesty's appreciation, and a commission for a rephca 
of the head of the Saviour. This was duly executed. It 
hung for several years in the picture gallery at Bucking- 
ham Palace and is now in the Chapel Royal. 

As in Jerusalem, so also in London, the extreme Church 
party denounced the picture as ' blasphemous.' They 
refused to accept the record in St. Mark's Gospel as an 

L 



i62 BROTHERS IN ART 

authority for representing Jesus Christ as being Himself 
a carpenter. But the public generally, and especially the 
artisan public of the great industrial centres in the North, 
hailed the picture wiih delight. It excited their deepest 
interest, and great numbers of working men paid two 
guineas in weekly instalments for a print to hang in their 
homes. This was precisely what the artist most of all 
desired, ' the dutiful humility ' of Christ thus carrying its 
deepest lesson. 

The picture was finally presented by Sir William Agnew 
to the Corporation of Manchester, and it is now one of the 
choicest treasures of the Manchester Art Gallery. 



'THE VALE OF REST' 

(MiLLAIS) 

A sky with sunset hues aglow, 

A cool October breeze, 
The opalescent colours flow 

About the dusky trees ; 
The rustling branches murmur low 

A requiem for the dead, 
The while with rhythmic thrust and throw, 
As one by usage numbed to woe. 

Nun digs for nun a bed. 

But, why, fair lady, comest thou 

To this sequestered place ? 
Why that dark cloud upon thy brow, 

That sadness in thy face ? 
Dost thou lament thy solemn vow 

In heedless girlhood made. 
Or her sad story — ended now — 
Across whose grave the poplar bough 

Will nightly fling its shade ? 

* O sweet, in this sweet Vale of Rest 

From life's unrest to cease, 
Here at the mighty mother's breast 

To find unbroken peace ! ' 
Seemeth it, sister, this is best ? 

Sunset and souls released ? 
Ah ! if so fair the darkening west 
What splendour will be manifest 

When dawn lights up the east ! 



163 



FOREBODINGS 165 



"The Vale of Rest' 

When Millais on his wedding tour in 1855 was descend- 
ing the steep hill from Inverary to Loch Awe, the coach- 
man pointed out on one of the islands of the loch the 
ruins of an old monastery. This led to a talk between 
the artist and his wife about the old times. They con- 
jured up in imagination the scenes of monastic days 
— white-robed nuns floating in boats on the water and 
singing sweet chants under the inspiration of the wondrous 
loveUness of that supremely lovely spot. Millais de- 
clared that he was determined some day to paint a 
picture in which nuns should be the leading figures. 
One afternoon at the end of October in that year he 
was struck with the exceptional beauty of the sunset. 
He rushed into the house for a large canvas and began 
work upon it at once. For background he had the 
wall of the Bowerswell garden, with tall trees and poplars 
behind. Two or three exquisite sunsets followed in 
succession. The artist worked at his highest speed 
to secure the evanescent effects. Seated just outside 
the front door, he had the principal part of the picture, 
the terrace and shrubs of Bowerswell, immediately 
before him. The comer of the house he transformed 
into an ivy-covered chapel. The grave was painted 
from one freshly made in Kinnoul churchyard. Some 
months later, in cold, stormy weather, when he was 
working upon his picture in the churchyard, two old 
men, known familiarly in Perth as ' Sin and Misery,' 



i66 BROTHERS IN ART 

watched the artist's unremitting toil with immense 
interest. He would not even pause for refreshment. 
They supposed he must be gaining a hard Hvelihood 
by painting graves for sorrowing relatives, and they 
brought him daily wine and cake to sustain him in the 
arduous labour. 

The figure of the woman digging the grave caused 
the artist very great trouble. Never, his wife affirmed, 
had she known such a time in her hfe as when her hus- 
band was painting that woman. For seven weeks he 
painted and repainted her with ever worse results. Then, 
for his good, his wife abducted the picture and locked 
it up in a wine-cellar. Entreaties were in vain. The 
model, who was receiving good pay, continued coming ; 
she was engaged for the duration of the painting. All 
remonstrance was disregarded. At last the artist was 
induced to take up other work. When after a consider- 
able interval his picture was released, he saw at a glance 
what was wrong, and a few hours' work overcame the 
difficulty. 

The picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy 
Exhibition of 1859. The title selected was taken from 
one of Mendelssohn's part-songs, ' The Vale of Rest, 
where the weary find repose,' It was sold for seven 
hundred guineas, and subsequently bought by Sir Henry 
Tate for £3,000. It is now in the National Gallery of 
British Art, and is regarded as one of the artist's greatest 
paintings. H. W. B, Davis, R,A., says : ' Can any 
one look upon " The Vale of Rest " viithout, in fancy, 
feeling the very air of approaching twilight ? This is, 
indeed, to my mind a faultless picture,' 

The picture offers an enigma. Why the haunting 



FOREBODINGS 167 

sadness in the eyes of the beautiful nun seated by the 
grave ? Is it weariness of her own hfe that brings her 
here to indulge in morbid reflections on the restfulness 
of death ? Or is it the tragic lot of the sister nun for 
whom this grave is being prepared that fills her with 
sorrow ? Or does the digging of this grave arouse gloomy 
forebodings and point to the inevitable time when for 
her also the sun must set and the dcirkness fall ? 

Times there are when such forebodings cloud the 
mind, when instead of the feeling that the very best 
must be made of life's brief day because ' the night 
Cometh when no man can work,' the very opposite 
feeling is excited ; the night draws on so rapidly, the 
working hours are so brief, that nothing of real and 
permanent value can be accomphshed in them, and it 
were best, therefore, to attempt nothmg and settle 
down into apathetic indifference. But there are two 
supreme events at the close of a well-spent hfe, events 
so imcomparably beautiful that they make every effort 
worth while. The pictmre plainly expresses one, and 
the suggestion of the other is not far away — the loveh- 
ness of a perfect sunset and the glory of a perfect dawn. 
It is not the setting of the sun in a clear sky that is desir- 
able. The ineffable glow and colour of simset are impos- 
sible apart from clouds, but when the clouds of past 
difficulties and failures and disappointments and struggles 
are irradiated in hfe's twihght ; when they take on new 
forms and glow with unsuspected colours ; when they 
are seen in the mellow hght of departing day to have 
been all parts of a perfectly ordered plan and they 
become gorgeous with an undreamt-of beauty in the 
light reflected upon them from the sim on the horizon 



i68 BROTHERS IN ART 

as they never could be with the sun at its zenith, a new 
meaning will enter into the past, a strange lovehness 
suffuse the once perplexing mysteries of Ufe, and the 
triumphant spirit will pass on its way to the joyous 
cadence of Simeon's phrase, ' Lord, now lettest Thou 
Thy servant depart in peace.' 

But if hfe's sunset hues are perfect in their lovehness, 
how must the glory of the dawn of an eternal day be 
infinitely more so ? The symbohsm of Scripture and 
the imagery of h3minology have been strained to the 
utmost in the attempt to express this. The Vale of 
Rest for the toil-worn and weary, the declining sun, the 
gold and crimson and green of the western sky — these 
can be depicted ; but the sun in the East again, the 
delicate flush of dawn, the hght every moment gaining 
in intensity, the awakening to renewed hfe and activity, 
and full comprehension of the significance of the words 
apphcable to that marvellous dawn, ' Thy sun shall no 
more go down ; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself : 
for the Lord shall be thine everlasting hght, and the 
days of thy mourning shaU be ended ' — these glories 
bafiie the imagination ; they transcend the power of 
words to describe and the skill of the artist's brush to 
depict. But at least the known lovehness of sunset 
suggests the unknown grandeur of the coming dawn, 
and this beautiful picture is beautiful not only on 
account of that which it actually expresses, but by 
reason also of the sequence of thought which it inspires. 



THE TRIUMPH OF THE INNOCENTS ? 

(holman-hunt) 

Spirit-children, spirit-children, 
Ghostly forms to earth returning 

To attend the infant Christ, 

Holy Innocents enticed 
By a more than mortal yearning ; 

Spirit-children, spirit-children. 

For the Babe-King sacrificed. 

Now they cluster round about Him, 
They have saved Him by their dying, 

Saved Him from the ruthless sword ; 

Joyously they fence their Lord, 
In triumphant gladness vying ; 

Spirit-chndren, spirit-children. 

Dead, but now to hfe restored. 

Weeping mothers, weeping mothers. 
Of your grief what sweet beguihng 

In one fleeting glimpse of them. 

And the Babe of Bethlehem 
On His escort gaily smiling ; 

Spirit-children, spirit-children. 

Crowned for ever 
With the martyrs' diadem. 



169 



CHAPTER X 

THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS 

' The Triumph of the Innocents ' 

In 1865 the Vicar of St. Michael and All Angels, Cam- 
bridge, expressed a desire that Holman-Hunt should 
decorate and paint the interior of the church. Un- 
fortunately sad circumstances in the artist's hfe and 
subsequently the Vicar's death prevented the canying- 
out of this work. One subject selected for a wall of the 
church was ' The Fhght of the Holy Family uito Egypt.' 
During his second visit to the Holy Land, whilst he 
was engaged upon ' The Shadow of Death,' this sub- 
ject came back to Holman-Hunt's remembrance, and, 
thinking over St. Matthew's story, it occurred to him 
that the massacred children of Bethlehem, perhaps 
little playmates of the child Jesus, were a vicarious 
sacrifice, and that in their spiritual life they would be 
' still constant in their love for the forlorn but heaven- 
defended family.' This idea interested him so far that 
he recorded it on a canvas, and made an expedition to 
the Phihstine plain near Gaza to secure materials for 
the landscape. A group of trees and a water-wheel at 
Gaza provided these, and the artist occupied some 

171 



172 BROTHERS IN ART 

moonlight nights in painting them. On leaving Jerusalem 
upon the completion of ' The Shadow of Death ' 
this small unfinished picture was carefully packed and 
put by in his house, Dar Berruk Dar. 

On the third visit to the Holy Land with Mrs. Holman- 
Hunt in 1875 the house was found in such a condition 
that it was uninhabitable. Worse still, all the artist's 
painting materials were damaged. Happily the sketch 
for the ' Triumph of the Innocents ' had escaped injury. 
The materials left ready for dispatch from England 
had not arrived. There was nothing for it but to obtain 
the best linen procurable in the bazaar for the pictures 
in hand. This answered well enough for the small 
painting ' The Ship,' but its use as a canvas for ' The 
Triumph of the Innocents ' caused endless trouble. In 
the spring of the next year a visit to Philistia deter- 
mined certain details of the background of the picture. 
A house and studio were built, but the studio was not 
rainproof. This caused additional trouble ; then 
the increasing hostihty of the Moslems made Jerusalem 
unsafe, and Mrs. Hohnan-Hunt and the children were 
sent to Jaffa. The artist remained and worked on, 
only to find ever-increasing trouble with his defective 
canvas. On his return in two and a half years to England 
he had Uttle to show but his partly finished picture. 
It was at last abandoned in despair, and a larger 
version painted on a new canvas. Upon the completion 
of this, the canvas of the original picture, after many 
disheartening experiments, was so treated that eventually 
it became possible to finish the painting. 

The two pictures differ in certain details of form and 
colour, and both differ markedly from the first study in 



THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS 173 

the attitude of the infant Christ. In the original sketch 
Mary holds her child against her left shoulder. In the 
two other pictures the infant Jesus rests against the 
Virgin's right shoulder, leaning back and smihng upon 
the spirit-children near to Him. There are thus three 
versions of ' The Triumph of the Innocents.' No. i, 
the small original sketch begun during the artist's second 
sojourn at Jerusalem and found uninjured in the house 
Dar Berruk Dar on the artist's third visit. This is now 
in the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Morse. No. 2, 
the larger picture begun upon Jerusalem hnen during the 
artist's third visit to Jerusalem, abandoned after years 
of toil upon it as hopeless, and finally completed upon the 
restored fabric. This was acquired by the Corporation 
of Liverpool and is now in the Walker Art GaUery. No. 
3, the repHca of No. 2, begun when the artist despaired 
of completing No. 2, and finished first. This is in the 
National Gallery. 

The subject of this picture is weU worth consideration. 
The artist has focused attention upon that incident, 
so seldom called to remembrance amongst the festivities 
of Christmas-tide — the dark tragedy of the massacre at 
Bethlehem. We are accustomed to think of Bethlehem 
as the city of joy, the glorious spot of happy memories, 
where Jacob found Rachel, where the sweet idyll of 
Ruth had its setting, where David fed his flock and re- 
ceived his call to a throne, where the Christ-child was 
bom. St. Matthew's Gospel recalls the fact that it was 
a city of sorrow. Here Jacob's saddest hour was passed 
when near by he buried Rachel ; here the Jewish 
captives, hurried into exile, gathered on the eve of that 
terrible journey, and Rachel is represented as weeping 



174 BROTHERS IN ART 

over her exiled daughters ; here Herod's ruthless soldiery 
slaughtered the innocents, and once again Rachel had 
reason to weep for her children. In truth, though for 
the most part Bethlehem is associated with the ex- 
quisite stories of the nativity, it has, besides, its dark and 
terrible records. What did the mothers of Bethlehem 
think of the nativity ? That event of supreme joy to the 
world involved for them a frightful sacrifice. Holman- 
Hunt has portrayed in his picture the bright side of that 
tragedy. The babes who cluster around the infant 
Christ are not babes of flesh and blood, but spirit-children. 
Some are hardly aw^ake as yet to this new Hfe, and reveal 
the horrors and suffering of the day of slaughter. Others, 
conscious of the service they are permitted to render, are 
joyously triumphant. One in priestly office leads the 
band, and the spirit-children following cast the symbols 
of martyrdom in the path of their infant Lord. One infant 
spirit, apart, wonders to find no hurt, where the sword 
pierced him, upon the glorified body. Mary, fuU of joy 
for her own child's rescue, and full of compassion for 
the murdered children and their childless mothers, is 
replacing the garments in which the infant Jesus had been 
hurriedly wrapped at the escape, when He recognizes the 
spirit-forms of His Uttle Bethlehem playmates, and lean- 
ing towards them, smiles His welcome. The period is 
spring-tide, rich in flowers and fruits ; the hour towards 
dawn ; a declining moon shedding its last rays, and 
an unearthly Ught faUing upon the spirit children. A 
shallow stream, hardly stirred by Joseph's footsteps, 
reflects the beauty of the night sky. Signal fires are 
burning on the hillside, and lights gleam from the village 
huts. The nearest trees overhang a water-wheel used 



THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS 175 

for irrigation purposes. Wild dogs that have come from 
the mill-house to bark slink back, troubled by the strange 
splendour of the passing procession. Joseph alone seems 
unaware of anything unusual. With gaze intently fixed 
upon the signal fires, and concerned only for the safety 
of mother and child whilst passing this village, he sees 
nothing of the spirit-children. But they float along, 
gliding upon the stream — the river of hfe — which for 
ever rolls onward. And this flood in constant motion 
breaks, not into spray, but into magnified globes which 
image in a succession of pictures the Jewish belief in the 
millennium that was to follow the advent of the Messiah. 
The patriarch's dream at Bethel is depicted on the large 
globe, the adoration of the Lamb by the elders on another, 
and on others the sorrow of the penitent, the simpUcity 
of the child, the tree for the healing of the nations, and 
thus the flood upon which the spirit-children advance 
symbolizes all that pertains to eternal hfe. 

The same symbohcal device, water — in this case the sea, 
breaking into pictorial globes — is employed by Byam 
Shaw in his painting 'Whither?' exhibited a decade 
later at the Royal Academy. 

Ruskin saw ' T?.e Triumph of the Innocents,' version 
No. 2, in its incomplete state at the artist's Chelsea 
studio, and made it the subject of one of his lectures 
on the art of England. His words of warm apprecia- 
tion came just at the critical moment when Holman- 
Hunt, on the point of giving up all hope of ever being 
able to complete the picture, was thinking of rehnquish- 
ing it for some other subject. But for that apprecia- 
tion, the artist has averred, 'I should scarcely have 
persevered to save the work of so many alternating 



176 BROTHERS IN ART 

feelings of joy and pain.' If so, a debt of gratitude is 
due to Ruskin, for of all Holman-Hunt's work this paint- 
ing is pre-eminent for its imaginative quality and the 
wealth of its symbolism. It is at once a deep weU of 
consolation and a radiant beam of light cast upon the 
great hereafter. 



THE MARTYR OF THE SOLWAY FIRTH' 

(millais) 

The tide sweeps on, the waters swirl 

Around the ankles of the dauntless girl. 

Around her knees, about her breast, 

They soak the Bible to her bosom pressed • 

But from her hps floats out a song, 

A precious paean of the past, 

A psalm of faith for souls made strong 

To die, if so the lot be cast. 

Chained to her stake the maiden martyr sings. 

And pleads her cause before the King of Kings : 

' Mine eyes and eke my heart 

to Him I will advance ; 
That plucked my feet out of the snare 

Of sin and ignorance. 
With mercy me behold, 

to Thee I make my mone : 
For I am poor, and desolate, 

and comfortless alone. 
The troubles of my heart 

are multiplied indeed : 
Bring me out of ' 

She sings no more ; the words expire 

In gurgling sobs, in passionate desire 

To meet at once her utmost pain 

And pass through suffering to endless gain. 

The salt waves fiU her mouth, they fill 

Her nostrils and wide-open eyes, 

Flow o'er her head, advancing still ; 

Some bubbles to the surface rise, 

The virgin mart^nr's last convulsive breath, 

Alone, beneath the tide, with God and death. 

177 M 



THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS 179 



* The Martyr of the Solway Firth ' 

The foul crime of the massacre of the Innocents was a 
matter of state poHcy, not of ecclesiastical hatred. And 
in general the persecution of the eariy Christians, bitter 
and relentless as it was, originated in considerations 
of pohtical expedience rather than in religious rancour. 
The most diabohcal forms of persecution, the most 
inhuman inventiveness in methods of torture, are recorded 
in the annals of the Christian Church itself, and they 
are the outcome of blatant bigotry and uncompromis- 
ing intolerance. In the long and terrible list of victims 
to ecclesiastical tyranny the martyr, or rather the martyrs 
of the Solway Firth, for there were two of them, a young 
girl and an old woman, hold an honoured place. Millais 
has seized upon the incident, and in his painting of the 
pathetic tragedy of the Scotch maiden who slowly 
perished in the rising tide rather than abandon her 
faith, he has given extended pubUcity to a story which 
otherwise might have remained more or less buried in 
the records of Scottish rehgious history. The story is 
so terrible an example of utter brutal callousness that 
its truth has been called in question, but whatever 
uncertainty there may be as to minor details, 
the main outlines rest on a foundation too solid to 
be shaken. 

In 1684 one, James Renwick, a Covenanter with a 
great reputation as a field preacher, pubUshed an 
Apologetical Declaration. It was, in effect, a plea for 



i8o BROTHERS IN ART 

and a justification of the assassination of the enemies 
of the Covenant. It was wholly disastrous in its effect, 
since violence cannot but beget violence. The Privy 
Council countered the Declaration with an order that 
every subject, old or young, should solemnly abjure it, 
under penalty of death for refusal. This order, although 
in itself a civil measure, gave a convenient handle to 
CathoHc intolerance and stirred up more fiercely the 
flame of religious hatred. 

Gilbert Wilson, a substantial farmer, was living at 
this time near Wigtown on the Solway Firth. He 
and his wife were sound EpiscopaUans, but their children 
seem to have come under the influence of Renwick and his 
party. There were three of them, Margaret aged eighteen, 
Thomas sixteen, and Agnes twelve. Young as they 
were they were staunch Covenanters, and they refused 
to hear the Episcopal incumbent in the Church where 
their parents worshipped. This exposed them to dire 
peril. To escape the danger they fled into the country 
and hid for weeks amongst hills, bogs, and caves. Their 
parents were forbidden on their peril to harbour them 
or to supply their needs. Gilbert Wilson was fined 
heavily for his children's opinions ; soldiers were 
quartered upon him, sometimes to the number of one 
hundred ; his attendance was required almost weekly 
at the \Mgtown courts, thirteen miles from his house. 
These things ruined him in health and money, and he 
died in abject poverty. His widow Uved to a great age 
upon charity. Thomas, after wandering here and there 
in concealment till the 1688 revolution, joined King 
William's army in Flanders, and finally came back to 
the old home. The tragedy centres in Margaret. She 



THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS i8i 

and her sister Agnes ventured into Wigtown to see 
some acquaintances. A pretended friend betraj^ed them. 
They were seized by a party of soldiers and cast into 
prison. In the same prison there was another Margaret 
— Margaret McLauchlan, a widow of between sixty 
and seventy. She refused to take the oath of abjura- 
tion mentioned above, persisted in hearing Presbyterian 
ministers as she had opportunity, and continued to 
supply, so far as she could, the need of her persecuted 
relatives and friends, amongst whom were the two 
Wilson girls. For these crimes she was thrown into 
prison to await trial. Many attempts were made to 
induce the woman and the two girls to swear the oath 
demanded, but in vain. They were tried and con- 
demned to death by drowning, the old Scottish punish- 
ment for treason. By the payment of a hundred 
pounds the father secured the release of Agnes on 
the ground of her extreme youth. No mercy was 
shown to the woman of nearly seventy or to the girl 
of eighteen. 

On May ii, 1685, the sentence was carried out in the 
water of Bladnoch, near Wigtown, where the sea flows 
at high tide. Stakes were driven into the sand below 
the high-water mark, and to these the women were 
fastened. The older woman was placed some distance 
away, nearer to the inflowing tide, in the hope that the 
sight of her suffering and death would induce the girl 
to give in. The sight was indeed terrible, but Margaret 
Wilson never wavered. Chained to her stake, she read 
the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and 
when the rising water made it impossible to continue 
reading she sang some verses from the twenty-fifth 



i82 BROTHERS IN ART 

psalm. It is said that even when the water had covered 
her head she was pulled out, and so soon as she could 
speak she was offered release if she would swear the 
oath of abjuration, and that refusing, she was thrust 
back and so perished. 

The story of this tragedy in fuU detail is given in 
Robert Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church 
of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution, pub- 
Hshed in 1722. The storj^ is repeated at some length, 
with quotations from Wodrow and an interesting dis- 
cussion of certain legal aspects of the case and some 
controverted points in a most interesting volume by 
Alexander S. Morton, Galloway and the Covenanters 
(Alex, Gardner, Paisley, 1914). Macaulay's History 
has a brief, vivid description of the martyrdom, 
and Lang's History of Scotland throws a flood of 
Ught upon the political currents of the day and 
the conflicting forces out of which so many tragedies 
arose. 

It may be wondered that a girl Uke Margaret Wilson, 
and many noble men and women, should choose death 
rather than abjure a Declaration which was, in effect, 
an incitement to murder. The correct answer is pro- 
bably that, whilst the Declaration was such in fact, 
and was known and intended to be such by a few hot- 
blooded leaders, it would appear in a different light to 
the mass of the people. The popular estimate of 
the Declaration, and the consequent persistence in 
refusal to renounce it, may be gathered from the 
epitaph on Margaret Wilson's tombstone in the 
old churchyard of Wigtown, and from the inscrip- 
tion upon the monument erected on Windy Hill in 



THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS 183 

1858 to the memory of the martyrs. The epitaph 
states : 

Murthered for ouning Christ supreame 
Head of His Church and no more crime 
But not abjuring presbytry 
And her not ouning prelacy. 

The memorial monmnent affirms that these women 
suffered martyrdom ' because they refused to forsake 
the principles of the Scottish Reformation, and to take 
the Government oath abjuring the right of the people 
to resist the tyranny of their rulers.' It can well be 
conceived that on the one hand the Declaration was 
so construed as to cover much more than the evil principle 
it embodied, and that on the other hand the majority 
of the martyrs, misunderstanding the full significance 
of the Declaration, died, not to substantiate the justice 
of promiscuous assassination, but (a quite different 
matter) to uphold their right to combine in their own 
defence ' against the tjnranny of their rulers.' 

It would be interesting to know what version of the 
Psahns Margaret Wilson used as she sung her triumph- 
song of faith and hope whilst the waves were rising about 
her. Up to 1650 the Scotch Psalter in common use was 
that of 1564-5. In this thirty-seven psalms were versions 
by Thomas Stemhold, and Psahn xxv. is one of these. 
Although the new Psalter of 1650 was ordered to be 
used in all the churches, it is likely, especially amongst 
the Covenanters, that the old Psalter would continue 
in use for many years. Acting upon this supposition, 
the quotation incorporated in the poem placed opposite 
to Millais's picture is taken from Sternhold's rendering 
of the twenty-fifth psalm. 



i84 BROTHERS IN ART 

The painting is in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. 
It is at once a beautiful tribute to the heroic giri-martyr, 
a keen rebuke to the spirit of intolerance, and an eloquent 
plea for that large charity apart from which the Church 
nullifies its mission to the world by destroying that 
which is best within itself. 



' SORROW ' 

(holman-hunt) 

Eyes that with silent misery o'erflow, 

Lips mute with grief too bitter to confide, 
The round throat swelHng to the rising tide 

Of mad, tumultuous, overpowering woe ; 

For life's fair promises are all laid low, 
The enchanted castles maidens build and hide 
Deep in the heart are overthrown. He died ; 

And death wrecked all at one disastrous blow. 

But memories there are to ease the pain. 
Fragrant and Hly-white as this sweet bloom ; 

They light the past, they Hght the days to be, 

Their perfumed purity death cannot stain. 

Nor quench their brilliant radiance in the tomb- 

Their searchlight rays that touch eternity. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE BEYOND 

' Sorrow ' 

In the period subsequent to the completion of ' The 
Triumph of the Innocents ' Hohnan-Hunt turned to 
several small pictures — pictures, he calls them, ' Of no 
definite didactic suggestion, relying alone on their 
aesthetic character.' ' Sorrow ' was one of these. 
Nevertheless, the expression of grief so poignant, and 
the black ribband with the attached locket holding a 
miniature portrait, seemed to suggest so strongly the 
possibiHty of some historic incident in the background 
of the artist's mind that only his own definite assertion 
in regard to the genesis of the picture, and its purpose, 
dispels the impression. This is his statement as to 
the motives which prompted him to complete this 
subject and the 'Bride of Bethlehem.' He says, 'My 
aim was to paint varying types of healthy beauty, with 
that unaffected innocence of sentiment essential to a 
heroic race. An artist should make sure that in his 
treatment of Nature alone he is able to incorporate 
some new enchantment to justify his claim as a master 
of his craft, doing this at times without reliance upon 
any special interest in the subject he undertakes.' This 

i87 



i88 BROTHERS IN ART 

picture is therefore not an allegory nor a concrete example 
of grief. Any story attaching to it must be furnished 
by each beholder out of his own imagination. It is 
a representation of an abstract emotion — sorrow ; more 
particularly, it may be surmised, from the black ribband 
and the locket, of that type of sorrow due to separation 
by death from some loved one — a father, a brother, a 
lover, a friend. And since this is a type of ' healthy 
beauty ' it is not a portrayal of morbid grief, but of 
sorrow that is as noble as it is profound. It is at once 
a picture of sorrowing beauty and of beautiful sorrow, 
and it recalls those hues from Keats's ' Hyperion ' : 

But oh ! how unlike marble was that face : 
How beautiful, if sorrow had not made 
Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self. 

The picture, therefore, does more than simply satisfy 
the aesthetic sense. It suggests certain reflections, 
and raises certain questions — questions such as these : 
WTiat part does sorrow play in the general scheme of 
life ? Is there a bright side to sorrow ? Is there any 
intimate connexion between sorrow and joy, so that the 
one is the inevitable coroUary of the other ? Does a 
beneficent purpose underhe sorrow ? Could character 
be built up without sorrow, or any toil worth under- 
taking be carried to a successful issue apart from sorrow ? 
To ponder these matters till, emerging from the dim 
mist in which so often thej' he hidden, they stand forth 
in full hght, wiU bring a deeper peace in days of dark- 
ness and firmer courage in hfe's periods of testing. And 
yet other questions arise. What is sorrow's ultimate 
goal, and what are its finest palliatives ? 



THE BEYOND 189 

Of hard work as a remedy the artist knew well the 
value. Speaking of one of the darkest hours of his 
own Ufe, he said, ' Necessitous labours were now my 
blessings.' But whilst work is the supreme source 
of heahng, there is another remedy and a sweet 
one. The maiden in the picture holds to her heart 
a lily of the valley, the lovely bloom so perfect in 
its purity, so fragrant in its scent. Will not every 
bell upon the stem stand for a pure and happy 
memory ? Forget, says morbid grief, the golden days ; 
they are dead and gone, never to return. Oh, for a 
draught of the stream of Lethe ! Remember, says 
noble sorrow, the sweet days of old, that they may be 
an inspiration for the future. Remember ! For 
memory is a searchlight that sweeps in every direction. 
It lights up the past, and, swinging round, it lights up 
the future also. Apart from Revelation there is no 
evidence that so distinctly points to a glorious future 
as that which arises from memories of a beautiful past 
and from the intuition springing from such memories 
that these joys are immortal. 

Does sorrow play some beneficent part in the general 
scheme of hfe ? It assuredly does. It has brought 
life to many a dead soul, and understanding sympathy 
to many a heartless nature, and knowledge of great 
truths that would never have been discovered in the 
blazing simshine of an untroubled hfe, for ' as night 
brings out the stars, so sorrow shows us truths.' Is 
there a bright side to sorrow ? Is there not ? No 
one can perceive the best that is in human nature whose 
eyes have not been opened to an unsuspected wealth 
of sympathy and kindness by sorrow. Is there a 



190 BROTHERS IN ART 

connexion between sorrow and joy ? In very truth there 
is. Our highest joys are intimately and inseparably 
associated with sorrow. 

Each time we love 
We turn a nearer and a broader mark 
To that keen archer, Sorrow, and he strikes. 

In the building up of character sorrow provides the 
essential disciphne ; in the carrying out of any noble 
enterprise sorrow is the toll demanded of success. But 
of the many things that have been said about sorrow 
nothing is more beautiful or more exact than the pithy 
aphorism of the quaint seventeenth-century Bishop 
Hall : ' Sorrows are the weights which are attached to 
the diver's feet, to sink him to the depths where pearls 
are found.' If we gather the precious pearls of under- 
standing, sympathy, patience, faith, purity, we gather 
them only in the depths, and to those depths we are 
only brought by sorrow. Perhaps the Bishop might 
have gone a step farther and reminded us that the 
weights upon the diver's feet will be terribly disastrous 
imless the cord attached to his person be in the hands 
of the sailors up above on deck. Sorrow will sink us 
to the depths where the pearls may be gathered, but 
unless there be a di\ine power to Uft us again, in the 
depths we shall remain. 

To return to modern writers : Could any finer couplet 
be inscribed beneath Holman-Hunt's beautiful picture 
of sorrow than these lines from Ehzabeth Barrett 
Browning's ' Vision of Poets ' ? : 

Knowledge by suiJenng cntereth, 
And Life is perfected by Death. 




_lv, ^y -CiS 



' SPEAK, SPEAK ! ' 
(millais) 

Is this, indeed, some ghostly form 

That Uving eyes behold ? 
Can love break through the bamers of death, 
So strong the passion that reraembereth 

The glorious days of old, 
Of intermingled bUss and storm ? 

Or do our rapt imaginings. 

When memory's magic works, 
So visuaHze our glowing fantasies 
That, for a spirit, our deluded eyes 

Mistake some shape which lurks 
Deep in the mind's subconscious springs ? 

Oh, for one word ! If the dead seek 

To knit again the bond 
Of loving comradeship and mutual joy. 
Has that far world no language to employ? 

Thou wraith from the beyond. 
If such thou art, Oh, speak ! oh, speak ! 



191 



THE BEYOND 193 



* Speak, Speak ! ' 

There are two ways in which the mystery of death may 
be faced. Hoknan-Huiit's picture indicates one — 
sorrow, noble, patient, resigned, accepted as part of 
life's discipUne, and mitigated by redoubled work and 
a growing apprehension that even sorrow comes to the 
imderstanding laden with precious gifts. Millais"s pic- 
ture ' Speak, speak ! ' points to a quite different attitude 
— a determined effort to break through the barriers that 
separate the worlds of matter and spirit, and to find 
satisfaction and relief by estabhshing communication 
between the two. It is not afiirmed that the picture 
was painted with this deliberate intention, but the two 
pictures illustrate these diverse attitudes when the 
tremendous problems that centre in death are forced 
upon our attention, and clamour for solution. Is patient 
sorrow the only possible response to death's challenge, 
or can the mystery of mysteries be made to yield its 
secret by the careful collation of abnormal experiences 
and resolute exploration of the vast and unmapped 
territory of psychology ? 

The picture itself was commenced by Millais in 
November, 1894, at Bowerswell, near Perth. The 
subject had lain dormant in the artist's mind for twenty 
years. It is a curious fact that he only embodied it 
within two years of his death and that this is one of the 
last pictures he painted, painted when already he was 
within the grip of the disease that proved fatal. 

N 



194 BROTHERS IN ART 

J, G. Millais describes the picture thus ; ' A young Roman 
has been reading through the night the letters of his 
lost love ; at da\\Ti the curtains of his bed are parted, 
and there before him stands, in spirit or in truth, the 
lady herself, decked as on her bridal night, gazing upon 
him with sad but loving eyes. An open door displays 
the winding stair down which she has come ; and through 
a smaU window above it the light steals in, forming with 
the light of the flaring taper at the bedside a harmonious 
discord such as the French school delight in, and used 
by ]\Iillais to good effect in his earher picture, '' The 
Rescue.'" The old four-poster bedstead was purchased 
at Perth and set up in one of the spare rooms at Bowers- 
well. After two months' work it was possible to con- 
tinue elsewhere, and Millais took the picture to London 
and completed it there. Miss Hope Anderson, daughter 
of the old minister at Kinnoul, and Miss Buchanan 
White were models for the lady, and her face was painted 
after the artist's return to town from Miss Lloyd, who 
posed for Millais's picture of the same year, ' A Disciple,' 
and for Sir Frederick Leighton's ' Lachrymae.' The 
artist roughly sketched the figure of the Roman in Scot- 
land, and after much searching foimd a suitable model 
in London in a good-looking Italian. He was partic- 
ularly pleased with his model's wonderful Italian throat. 
The model for the lamp was found in South Kensington 
Museum. As this could not be taken away, MiUais 
made a drawing of it and from this an ironmonger 
fsLshioned a facsimile. The painting is the last of the 
series of the artist's moonlight pictures. ' The Eve of 
St. Agnes ' of his earher period, and ' The Knight- 
Errant ' of his middle life, are other famous examples. 



THE BEYOND 195 

The Royal Academy purchased ' Speak, speak ! ' under 
the Chantrey Bequest for the nation, and it became a 
permanent addition to the National Gallery of British Art. 
This mark of appreciation on the part of his brother 
artists, says J. G. MillEiis, gave great pleasure to his 
father, the more so as it set a seal upon the artist's own 
estimate of his picture, ' Never before, I think, had I 
seen him so pleased with any work of his own.' It is 
delightful to realize that amidst much suffering, and 
aware that the end of his career was near at hand, the 
artist could put such vigour and beauty into his work 
and derive real satisfaction from it. The picture was 
exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1895. The year 
after the artist passed into that other world where the 
secrets of Hfe and death, the subject-matter of almost 
his last painting, are disclosed. 

Subjective or objective ? That is the riddle the 
picture propounds. Ghosts cannot be airily dismissed 
as the mere product of a disordered imagination. The 
stories of strange appearances are too numerous and 
too wide-spread to be so summarily dealt with. But 
are such apparitions the projection upon the material 
world of the obscure workings of the sub-conscious 
mind, and therefore illusions, or can they be in some 
instances real manifestations of the beyond? The 
question is one of extraordinary difhculty. Know- 
ledge of the beyond based upon scientific investigation 
is nil, and psychology, the study of the vast possibilities 
of the mind, dimly apprehended but little understood, 
is yet in its infancy. Two diametrically opposed attitudes 
have added to the difficulties of investigation. On 
the one hand it is held that the quest of such knowledge 



196 BROTHERS IN ART 

is, if not positively sinful, at least undesirable. It is 
an attitude difficult to understand. If the finest study 
of man is man, surely the eager pursuit of physiology, 
the attempt to interpret the marvels of blood, and 
muscle, and glands, and nerves, and brain, aDovved by 
aU to be essential study, must be incomparably inferior 
to the pursuit of psycholog}^ — the attempt to fathom 
the mysteries of mind and soul, to read the riddle of 
the ego itself, and of its destructibihty or indestructibility. 

On the other hand, spiritualism, so-caUed, saturated 
through and through with the grossest trickery and 
ministering to an almost universal aptitude for self- 
delusion, has discoimted serious investigation and set 
up a reaction in the direction of absolute materiaUsm. 
A breath of sturdy common sense is badly needed. Dark 
seances and aU the paraphernalia of fraud prejudice 
the issue, and the affirmation so often made, that although 
trickery is undeniable, amongst so many recorded 
phenomena of mediumship there must be some sub- 
stratum of truth, is only to claim stupidly that nothing 
multipUed by a sufficiently large factor wiU yield a 
product. 

Meanwhile the yearning for knowledge inherent in 
human nature and the imperative demands of love 
cannot be stifled. As at the present time certain 
mysterious and unaccountable signals are under examina- 
tion, in view of the possibiUty of attempts being made 
to set up interplanetary communication, so there is a 
growing consciousness that the plane of the spiritual 
realm may be seeking to estabUsh communication with 
the plane of our mundane existence. The cry of humanity 
to-day is more insistent than ever, ' Speak, speak ! ' 



THE BEYOND 197 

It may yet be that patient, reverent, common-sense 
investigation of the whole field, freed from superstitious 
fear on the one hand and from mammon-seeking fraud 
on the other, will prove fruitful, and that the high ex- 
pectations and beautiful ideals based upon faith will 
find additional confirmation in the actual discoveries 
of science. But whatever careful investigation may 
achieve, no new revelation can exceed in grandeur and 
beauty that which has aheady been made ; and only 
in so far as the soul's hearing is attuned to the voice 
breathing through that revelation will it be capable 
of detecting any other voice from the beyond worth 
listening to. 



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