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Effie Gray: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais brought to life by author Suzanne Fagence Cooper

22nd May 2015
Venue: St Peter's Church, Oundle PE8 4AL
Time: 19.45

Effie Gray is the heroine of a great Victorian love story. Her first husband was a visionary art critic, her second a provocative Pre-Raphaelite painter. Married at 19 to John Ruskin, the Scottish beauty found herself trapped in an unconsummated union. When Ruskin invited his protégé John Everett Millais away on holiday, Effie and Millais fell in love. She inspired some of Millais’ most haunting images, and embodied Victorian society’s fears about female sexuality. Controversy and tragedy stalked her throughout her life.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper’s biography offers a fresh theory on the failed Ruskin marriage. For the first time, it also reveals what happened next. Drawing on family letters and diaries, she opens up Effie’s career as Mrs Millais. The tale of this second marriage is as startling as the scandal of their early, illicit affection.

Effie Gray shows the Pre-Raphaelite circle through the eyes of a woman who was intimately involved with its two greatest figures. Effie’s charm and ambition shaped the success of both her husbands. This is a compelling portrait of the woman behind some of the most famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

‘A joy to read…' 'A wonderful, rich book…' 'Meticulously researched and yet touchingly personal…' 'We know so much about Ruskin and Millais – so little about the most influential woman in their lives. Effie’s story is emblematic of the struggle of Victorian women.' 
- Emma Thompson

'Effie Gray’s story is extraordinary… I cannot recommend Fagence Cooper’s biography of Effie Gray more highly to anyone with a heart, a liking for a good read and an interest in things Victorian.’
- The Literary Review 

Suzanne Fagence Cooper is the author of The Victorian Woman and Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum. For 12 years she was curator and research fellow at the V&A Museum. She was historical consultant for The Invisible Woman (2013), a film about the life of Charles Dickens.

Emma Thompson has adapted Effie’s story for her film which was released on 10 October 2014.

This film will be shown in Oundle at the Stahl Theatre on the 29th May, see www.oundlecinema.org.uk for more details.

Kindly sponsored by Harpur’s of Oundle. 

Tickets for the talk: £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 15th May, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle.

Open hours: 10.00am – 1.00pm Mon to Fri Tel 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk

Any queries call Helen on 07743 988181 or email oundlelitfestival@hotmail.co.uk.