Effie Gray, The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais  by Suzanne Fagence Cooper


Duckworth Overlook Biography/Victorian Women/Art 25 September 2014

Duckworth Overlook
Biography/Victorian Women/Art
25 September 2014

The true story of the Scottish woman who inspired the film starring Dakota Fanning released in October 2014

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. Now Emma Thompson has adapted Effie’s story for her new film to be released on 10 October 2014.

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 often 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.

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.

Media Relations and Events

Effie Gray, The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais is the film tie-in edition of a biography previously published in 2010 and  2012. The challenge for this publicity campaign was to find a fresh approach to an already well publicised book. I decided to target the Scottish press and UK print and broadcast media. Highlights of this publicity campaign include a live interview on BBC Radio Scotland, The Culture Studio  with Janice Forsyth, a 5 pages author piece in Scottish Field, and reviews in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Lady and  the Art Newspaper. Effie Gray was nominated a ‘Must Read’ by the Daily Mail.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper will present Effie Gray at the Oundle Literature Festival 22 May 2015.


effie all socttish field

Suzanne Fagence Cooper’s article for Scottish Field



















Effie Gray Review in the January 2015 issue of The Art Newspaper

Effie Gray Review in the January 2015 issue of The Art Newspaper


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