Painting by Millais Brother for Bonhams Auction

The painting entitled ‘James Wyatt and his Granddaughter Mary Wyatt’ by William Henry Millais, who was assisted in its production by his brother, the better-known Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais, is expected to fetch £20,000-30,000 at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings auction on 29th September 2010.

The stunning work for auction at Bonhams is a copy of John Everett Millais’ painting of the same subject (1849), now in the collection of Lord Lloyd Webber. The sitter’s son, James Wyatt Junior, liked the original so much that he commissioned William Henry Millais, through his older brother, to create a copy in 1850. John Everett Millais finished the hands and faces of the sitters in his brother’s work, and effectively acted as agent arranging the commission. Also included for sale is a hand written letter from him to the client discussing the painting and requesting payment.

Charles O’Brien, Department Head, comments, “It is known that the face was painted by the older, more famous brother John Everett Millais, but on close inspection it seems to me that his hand is evident throughout the picture. It’s a beautiful picture infused with the light of summer, made more wonderful by the hidden message of brotherly love – the older brother supporting and wanting acclaim for his lesser known sibling.”

James Wyatt (1774-1853) was the curator of the Duke of Marlborough’s collection at Blenheim and Mayor of Oxford in 1842-3. He was also a keen wood carver, and depicted on the table next to him is an oval oak box carved by himself which was one of his treasured possessions. The original box is also for sale with the painting and all three items (painting, letter and box) are being offered for auction by his descendants. Together they make a wonderful group and would be an asset to any collection.