(Born London, 23 February 1817; died London, 1 July 1904). English painter and sculptor. In 1843 he won a prize in the competition for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament; no commission resulted from this, but he used the prize money to visit Italy, where the great Renaissance masters helped shape his elevated attitudes towards art. After returning to England in 1847, he established a solid reputation in intellectual circles, but popular fame did not come until the early 1880s, following exhibitions of his work in Manchester (1880) and London (1881). In old age he was the most revered figure in British art, and in 1902 he was the only artist among the twelve original holders of the newly instituted Order of Merit (he had earlier refused many other honours, including a baronetcy, offered in 1885 at the same time as Millais's).

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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