John Everett Millais was born 8 June 1829. He grew up on the Island of Jersey where his father was descended from Jersey landholders. As a child Millais astounded his family and fiends with his talent for drawing. He was encouraged by his local art teacher to apply for instruction from an art school in either Paris or London. Millais was lucky to have parents that encouraged his talent and the whole family moved to London. At the age of 10 Millais entered Sass’s Academy where he studied drawing and advanced so quickly that the next year he was advised to try for the Royal Academy school and was accepted. At the age of 11 he was the youngest ever admitted to the Academy.
As the prodigy of the Academy he continued to excel. In 1843 at the age of 14 he was awarded the silver medal for drawing from the antique. The prize giving was witnessed by a sixteen-year-old Holman Hunt who had haunted the Royal Academy in hopes of being admitted to the school. Upon his admittance they became fast friends.
Millais’s exhibited Pizarro Seizing The Inca Of Peru at the Academy Exhibition of 1846. In 1847 he won the gold medal for his painting The Tribe Of Benjamin Seizing The Daughters Of Shiloh. Along with Hunt he joined the Cyclographic Society, a drawing club, and through it met most of the future Pre-Raphaelites.
Millais is conservative and conventional, so what is he doing in a group determined to overthrow the status quo?