Thursday, November 7, 2013
1745 Gallery by John Everett Millais
Bonnie Prince Charlie's 1745 expedition to reclaim the British crown for his father has captured the imagination of British artists for years. One artist who painted 2 paintings of this era is John Everett Millais. Millais's paintings are not focused on the statesmen who guided whole countries in this monumental event. Nor are they battle panoramas, showing the desperate heroism of charging Jacobites and the immovable red coated British. Instead, these two painting capture something different. In "An Idyll of 1745" three lasses listen as a young British fifer plays to them. Behind the fifer is a Loyal volunteer, seemingly enjoying the moment. In the background is a British Army camp, likely where the fifer and volunteer came from. It seems to be a welcome diversion for all from the business of war.
The next painting deals with the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. An imprisoned Jacobite has been released and allowed to return home to his wife and bairn (young child). However, he is not without scars as his right arm has been badly injured. The British soldier gives the wife the "Order of Release", the title of the painting.
Millais's two paintings are in honor of the civilians of 1745. The war affected them, no matter which side won. Homes were burnt, crops destroyed or stolen, and loved ones maimed or killed. They show the friendship between the two sides of the rising, that despite political differences, love and friendship can transcend them.
"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."--Luke 6:35