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Princess Elizabeth in Prison at St James's

The princess portrayed in this painting is Elizabeth, second daughter of Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. Following the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, Elizabeth and her younger siblings were put under house arrest. Here she is shown in St James’ Palace, one of the locations in which she was confined. She was noted for being an excellent scholar. She learnt Hebrew and Greek, and by the age of seven, she was said to have also been proficient in Latin, French and Italian. Millais symbolises her extraordinary capacity to learn by adding books by the foot of her chair. She died whilst still under house arrest aged only 15.

The painting is a pendant to Millais’ now more famous painti ...
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Oil on canvas
144.7 x 101.5cm

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