Like many succesful artists, Millaise painted portraits of wealthy patrons. Millais' portrait work includes several portraits of children, providing fascinating glimpses of the clothes worn by wealthy Victorian children during the second half of the 19th Century. The wealthy children he painted were not costumed, but wore their own clothes. Millais may have made suggestions as to what the children should wear. Here we are not positive just hiw he worked. While we think that the children normally wore their own clothes, some of the outfits do not seem consistent with the second half of the 19th century. We do not always know the names of the children.
The boy here is the Hon John Neville Manners. We know nothing about him at this time or when the portrait was painted. The open collar does not look quite right to us for the second half of the 19th century. We do not note any photographic portraits like this. Perhaps Millais was paitinghim in the romantic style of tghe early-19th century. The color alsdo does not seem right for the period. We suspect that Millais here may becrelecting the influence of Sir Thomas Lawrence.
Thi identity of the child here with curly hair is not known. The blue sash may well be allegorical and symbolic of Royal portraiture and the Order of the Garter. It is typical of the sugary style that Millais used to please his public. We are not sure how the boy is dressed. It looks like the bodice of a dress. Nor do we know if this was an accurate depiction of period fashions.
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