The Toilet

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John Everett Millais
Born Southampton, 1829-1896

The Toilet, 1863
Watercolour

Original Orchar Collection
Museum number 272-1987-227

Millais has a long and successful artistic career, first as a member of the notorious Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and later as a portraitist and painter of some of the most popular images of the period. A prolific oil painter and illustrator, his work in watercolour is much rarer. This work is from an illustration to the historical novel 'The Hampdens' by Harriet Martineau, serialised in the magazine 'Once a Week'.

'Attending to one's toilet' is not an expression that we would use nowadays but was the common term for the process of dressing or grooming. Here a maid is combing Queen Henrietta Maria's hair.

The Toilet
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