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Lady Euphemia Chalmers "Effie" Gray Millais
Birth: 1828
Perth
Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Death: Dec. 23, 1897
Perth
Perth and Kinross, Scotland

Artist's Model, Folk Figure. The subject of several Pre-Raphaelite painters, she is probably better remembered for the bizarre and scandalous circumstances of her first marriage. Born Euphemia Chalmers Gray, she was raised in central Scotland and at some point her childhood attracted the attention of noted author, critic, and paedophile John Ruskin. When Effie was 12 Ruskin penned "The King of the Golden River" in her honour and a romance gradually ensued. The pair wed on April 10, 1848, but the marriage fell off the tracks literally on the wedding night allegedly because Ruskin was revolted by the sight of Effie in the nude. The sexless union continued for a time with Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, whose friend Effie had been and of whose work Ruskin was then a strong supporter, eventually becoming part of some sort of menage a trois. Millais made Effie the central figure in his 1853 "The Order of Release, 1746" and in 1854, despite the knowledge that such a move would render her a social pariah, Effie petitioned for an annulment on the grounds of "incurable impotency". Married to Millais in 1855, she bore eight children, continued modelling for a time, and was to influence her husband in his move away from the Pre-Raphaelite school into the more financially remunerative field of portraiture. The union persisted until Millais' 1896 death and was apparently happy despite the painter's dalliance with Effie's beautiful, much younger, and mentally unbalanced sister Sophy; Ruskin became a severe critic of Millais but Effie was able to get her revenge when the parents of Rose La Touche (1848-1875) whom Ruskin had been persuing since she was 10 wrote to her for advice. Effie's unvarnished reply ended the relationship though many years later the abortive romance of Rose and Ruskin was to serve as a partial model for Vladimir Nabakov's controversial 1955 "Lolita". Banned by her broken marriage from many social functions and particularly from the presence of Queen Victoria, Effie was finally readmitted into polite company at the behest of Princess Louise during Millais' final illness. Effie has made it to the screen several times begining with 1912's silent "The Love of John Ruskin; she was later portrayed by Neve Campbell in the 1994 short "The Passion of John Ruskin" and by Zoe Tapper in the BBC series "Desparate Romantics" (2009). David Lang's "Modern Painters" was premiered by the Santa Fe Opera in 1995 while in 2011 Dr. Suzanne Fagence Cooper published "Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin, and John Everett Millais", probably the most complete and scholarly telling of the tale. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouses:
  John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
  John Everett Millais (1829 - 1896)
 
Burial:
Kinnoull Churchyard
Perth
Perth and Kinross, Scotland
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Aug 26, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 75500146
Lady Euphemia Chalmers Effie <i>Gray</i> Millais
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Lady Euphemia Chalmers Effie <i>Gray</i> Millais
Added by: HalfBloodPrincess
 
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