MILLAIS AND THE RUSKINS by Mary Lutyens

MILLAIS AND THE RUSKINS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

She has remained in resolute anger--venting itself in unexplained anger. . ."" wrote John Ruskin of his wife Effie in 1853. After five years, the rising young art critic had not consummated his marriage. His chastity was exceeded only by his complacency; in 1853 he had introduced the handsome young painter Millais into his household. The equally virginal Millais and Effie conceived a decorous passion. The speculation here is that the extensive use of a depilatory and a deodorant might have saved the Ruskin marriage, that Ruskin's low sex drive stalled forever on the honeymoon when he discovered that Effie, unlike the nude female statues of antiquity he studied, had genital hair and a certain muskiness that offended him. This and the first volume, Effie in Venice, covers the six year marriage of the Ruskins. Effie divorced him in 1854 and married Millais in 1855. Both books are meticulously well footnoted and together provide the chapters missing from the previous books on the art critic and the painter that Effie married. Both are based on hitherto unpublished correspondence between the principals and their intimates. In addition to the minor scandal revealed, they are an excellent source of commentary on the manners, mores, and art milieu of the mid-19th century in England.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Vanguard