Millais or not?

28th January 2005 at 00:00
I was so delighted to see that Lorenzo and Isabella by Millais was featured as "The Big Picture" on January 7 that I turned to that page immediately. I was very disappointed when I saw the picture itself.

It had none of the fine brushstrokes and attention to detail of Millais.

When I compared it with a copy of the original in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, I could see it is not the same painting. There are many discrepancies between it and the original. For example, Gillian Wolfe refers to the hawk tearing apart a dove (on the back of the chair on the left in the original). This is missing from your picture, as are the "bared teeth" of Lorenzo's brother on the left. Is this picture by Millais?

You mention several galleries as good places to see Pre-Raphaelite work but omit the Walker itself. Teachers would be better using a copy of the real thing from the gallery's website than this substandard copy (

Christine Moorcroft Haining Hall Whitfield, Northumberland

The Editor writes: The work shown (oil on panel, 1849) was painted by Sir John Everett Millais. But it is from the Makins Collection in Washington, USA, and is not the painting of the same name (Lorenzo and Isabella, oil on canvas, 1849) in the Walker gallery, Liverpool. It was reproduced courtesy of the Bridgeman art library. The Walker is indeed a good place to see Pre-Raphaelite art.

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