Portrait of Dickens' daughter up 20% on valuation at Sotheby's

Sir John Everett Millais' Portrait of Kate Perugini, Charles Dickens' daughter, has sold among the top lots of Sotheby's British and Irish Art auction, held on November 13 in London.

Kate Perugini portrait John Millais Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was a huge critic of the Pre-Raphealite movement

The work, which was presented to Perugini after she served as the model for Millais' The Black Brunswicker, sold for £241,250 ($382,808), achieving a 20.6% increase on its £200,000 high estimate.

John Everett Millais was one of the leading figures and founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, after meeting fellow painters William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti at London's Royal Academy. He also formed a close relationship with fellow artist Kate, who was married to another painter, Charles Edward Perugini.

Despite being married to Perugini at the time, the 1880 portrait depicts Kate in mourning for her previous husband - the author Charles Allston Collins - following his death in 1873. It is one of Millais' most striking portraits, with its pose expertly portraying Kate's lively personality.

Her father, Charles Dickens, was not such a fan of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, publishing a "scathing attack" on Millais' Christ in the House of his Parents. Despite supposedly being Dickens' favourite daughter, Kate's relationship with her father was similarly fractured following the separation of her parents.

It is said that she married Collins, who was far older than her, simply to move away from Dickens' home. The day before Kate's wedding to Collins, Dickens was reportedly found crying into her wedding dress, sobbing: "But for me, Katey would not have left home".

The current world record for Millais' work at auction is held by Sleeping, an 1865 oil painting that sold for just over £2m ($3.4m) at Christie's in 1999.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb selection of Charles Dickens memorabilia, including a number of handwritten letters and authentic strands of his hair.

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