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Victorian Love Triangle: The Writer, the Artist and Effie Grey

John Ruskin (1819–1900), King of the Golden River, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1932

Written by prominent social thinker and philanthropist, John Ruskin, The King of the Golden River was originally written in 1841 for twelve-year-old Effie (Euphemia) Gray, whom with Ruskin was infatuated and later married. However, Ruskin famously could not bring himself to consummate their marriage, his reasons are unclear, but they involved disgust with some aspect of Effie’s 19 year-old body.

After six years of marriage, Ruskin asked Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais to accompany him and his wife to Scotland, so that Millais could paint Ruskin’s portrait in the Pre-Raphaelite style which Ruskin was a big fan of. Millais and Effie fell in love on this trip and soon after returning home Effie arranged for an annulment so she could be free marry Millais. The result was a Victorian-era scandal that inspired Emma Thompson to write and produce the movie “Effie Gray” in 2014. It was nominated for two Academy Awards.

The King of the Golden River tells the tale two brothers who try to get rich in evil ways and how the fortune they sought comes to their younger brother, whose kind and loving heart prompts him to right action. The story is widely regarded as a masterpiece of 19th century literature for children and a classic of the Victorian Era.
Illustrator Arthur Rackham was a master of pen and ink fantasy illustration and richly illustrated books such as; Gulliver’s Travels, Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and of course Ruskin’s The King of the Golden River.

The copy we have for auction is Rare and in very good condition, some wearing at the top of the spine, and some marks on the cloth boards. No marks, notations, foxing or stains inside.

Lot 71 – John Ruskin (1819–1900), King of the Golden River, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1932

February 20, 2018


One response to “Victorian Love Triangle: The Writer, the Artist and Effie Grey”

  1. Good afternoon. Interesting page :).

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