The Millais portrait which caused relationship breakdown

8th March 2015 by

There are many reasons why couples suffer relationship breakdown – growing apart, money troubles, pressures of parenthood for example. These are the sorts of causes that Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton often hear of when a spouse comes to us for legal advice on divorce.

But, it’s not often we hear that the painting of a portrait has led to a couple requiring our representation, yet this was the reason that, in 1854, John Ruskin and his wife Effie sought an annulment of their marriage.

Ruskin a leading art critic of the Victorian era, was friends with artist John Everett Millais, but when Millais started painting a portrait of Ruskin during a group holiday to Finglas in Scotland, in 1853, he fell in love with Effie.

In July of the following year, the Ruskin marriage was annulled following their six-year marriage during which they infamously did not consummate the nuptials.

Ruskin eventually gave the portrait away in 1871 to his friend Henry Wentworth Acland who hung it in his Oxfordshire home. And this is where it stayed until it was sold by Acland’s descendants in 1965.

In May 2013, the painting was acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as it was considered as an extremely important example of 19th century British Pre-Raphaelite art.

Reasons for relationship breakdown

Of course, adulterous affairs are today one of the major reasons for couples to seek a divorce, although far fewer marriages end in annulment in modern times.

If you need legal advice on divorce and separation, Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton can help, whatever the reason for the split.

We are a full service firm of lawyers with conveniently situated offices in London and Brighton and we have clients throughout the UK and abroad. We offer legal representation on all matters arising from relationship breakdown and divorce.

Whatever your family law requirement, whether it be advice on applying for or responding to a divorce petition, or if you wish to proceed through the courts in the making or defending of a financial settlement on divorce, the family solicitors at Healys are here to offer expert, client-focused and cost-effective legal services for you.

To discuss your circumstances, please call or visit our London and Brighton offices, We look forward to being of service to you.