John Everett Millais was to become one of the most successful painters of the entire Victorian era; however, he had first risen to prominence as one of the founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, during which time his work had alarmed all of the critics except Ruskin who hailed him as a genius. The association of critic and artist was disastrous, with Ruskin’s wife falling for Millais. She left her husband, and after a scandalous annulment, she married J.E.Millais in 1855.
Around the time of his marriage, J.E.Millais began to turn towards a more popular style, epitomised in his superb etchings. His success was so enormous that he was soon to enjoy a level of income which had never before been seen by any British artist - by the 1880's he was estimated to be earning the staggering sum of £30,000 a year. John Everett Millais remains one of the most important of the Victorian etchers and his work is still the most widely sought after of their group today.