Discovery in St Thomas’ church

‘The Blind Girl’ painted in 1854

Last Saturday, May 20, I showed a friend the beautiful St Thomas’ Church in Winchelsea with its wonderful stained-glass windows. We noted two paintings of John Everett Millais, which were donated by Millais’ great grandson who lives in Winchelsea. Both were very interesting and should be seen.

Millais, 1929-1896, was an English painter who, with William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rosetti, also artists, founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Aged eleven he was the youngest student to enter the Royal Academy of Art. Amongst his other art, “Ophelia” is particularly well known.

He visited Winchelsea in 1852 and loved the town so much that he returned in 1854 and painted “L’Enfant du Regiment”(shown above). The 14th century tomb in the church serves as background for the picture which depicts a girl lying on the tomb wearing a grenadier’s jacket.

The second painting exhibited is “The Blind Girl”(right). It depicts two young women resting after a rainstorm, the older one being blind. In the background the town of Winchelsea is visible. It was lovely to discover this treasure and donating them, I feel,was very generous of the great grandson.

Photos: Heidi Foster courtesy of the church warden

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