Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin, and John Everett Millais
Published in hardcover two years ago, and now in paperback, this nonfiction treatment shines new light on a famous romantic triangle. Two artists with influence in the controversial Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 19th century, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais, become involved with beautiful young Effie Gray. Ruskin, a renowned art critic, marries the much younger Effie but soon—for reasons no one has been able to fully explain—turns against her. He refuses to consummate their marriage and declares her unsuitable for his passion and mentally unstable. Effie, abused and at her husband’s mercy (since divorce was nearly impossible at the time), plots to escape the marriage—but at great risk. Her second marriage to Millais, although far more successful, never rises above the horrible scandal caused by her flight.
No one is better equipped to tackle the confusing details and untangle the gossip and legends surrounding these famous icons of the art world. Suzanne Fagence Cooper, having served for twelve years as a curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum, is an expert on Victorian art and its players. Using exclusive access to Effie’s previously unseen correspondence and diaries, Cooper gives readers a fresh view of this intricate relationship.