Description: signed with monogram l.r. oil on panel
Dimensions: 21 by 33 cm., 8 1/2 by 13 in.
Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by the Late Sir John Everett Millais, Bart; President of the Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition, 1898, loaned by Humphrey Roberts
Provenance: The collection of Humphrey Roberts Esq., and sold by Christie's after his death on 21 May 1908, lot 65, bought by 'Newmann' for 38 gns.;
London, Thomas Agnews & Sons
Notes: The present sketch was probably painted in the summer of 1848 when Millais is known to have painted at William Hugh Fenn's home at Hampstead. Fenn was a friend of the artist and was painted by Millais as the curly-haired figure pealing an apple in his famous Isabella of 1849 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).
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A View of Some Old Cottages on the Edge of the Heath was exhibited at Millais' memorial exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1896 and another contemporary picture entitled Landscape, Hampstead is now at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The latter picture was painted at the back of Wylde Farm at North End, which had been a popular location for artists and literary men throughout the Victorian perid; John Linnell had rented part of Wylde Farm in the 1820s. It is possible that the present sketch is Hampstead Heath described by M. H. Spielman as 'an extremely elaborate and patient sketch' (M. H. Spielman, Millais and His Works, 1898, pg. 71) and listed as unlocated in Allen Staley's The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape.
This sketch is an extremely rare example of an early landscape by Millais and if the date of 1848 is correct it would date to a period shortly before the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Daley's description of A View of Some Old Cottages on the Edge of the Heath is as applicable to View Near Hampstead '... (the) main interest lies in the picturesque dilapidation. It shows a warm palette of reds and browns, care and competence in the depiction of the buildings, and fairly broad handling in the foreground... If the picture dates from the summer of 1848, it is mainly of interest in demonstrating that just before the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood the new winds blowing had had no apparent effect on Millais' treatment of the natural world.' (Allen Staley, The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape, 1973, pg. 45).