The first painting Millais exhibited reflecting his new beliefs was Lorenzo and Isabella. It was received well by the Academy.The mysterious letters, PRB (standing from the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood) were included on Isabella's chair in the lower right corner and by Millais' signature.
Millais began to show an amazing talent for drawing at a very young age. When he was eleven years old, he became the youngest student ever admited to the Royal Academy Schools .
In 1848, Millais and several of his friends formed a secret artistic circle named The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This brotherhood was dedicated to making art of high quality and beauty. The Pre-Rapahaelite Brotherhood drew inspiration from nature, literature, and early 15th century Italian masters.
Millais won many awards and became the darling of the academy. His parents encouraged him every step of the way, even making costumes and props for his models.
Christin the House of His Parentswas met with harsh criticism by Charles Dickens. John Ruskin, Britain's leading art critic came to the rescue of Millais and the whole brotherhood.
Ruskin's wife, Effie was bright and beautiful, but their marriage had serious problems. Ruskin had never consummated the marriage with Effie (he had several phobias). He also had serious spells of depression and often neglected or left Effie for long periods of time.
In 1853, the Ruskins invited Millais to join them on a vacation to Scotland. Millais spent his days drawing and teaching Effie to draw. They spent a lot of time talking, and she shared the secrets of her strange marriage. Gradually, Millais and Effie fell in love. He called her 'the Countess' and 'the sweetest thing that ever lived'. She referred to him as 'Everett' instead of John (because that was her husbands first name too).
On the advice of her parents and friends Effie left Ruskin and annulled the marriage in 1854. There was a great scandal surrounding the divorce and Millais was dismissed from the Royal Academy (but was soon re-admitted). Ruskin seemed not to be bothered by the annulment and remained friends with Millais.
Effie had refused to see Millais ever since their vacation in Scotland but finally allowed him to visit her in 1855. Four months later they were married.
By this time, Millais had left the PRB and begun to create paintings that were more popular in academic circles. Millais became one of the central figures of the Royal Academy and was granted baroncy by Queen Victoria. In 1892, Millais discovered that he had throat cancer. He still became president of the Royal Academy after the death of Lord Leighton. He died on August 13th, 1896, during his first year in office.