Boyhood of Raleigh

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The Boyhood of Raleigh by Charles Jacques, 1934. This is a copy in St Helier's Town Hall of the original painting by John Everett Millais in 1870 which now hangs in the Tate Gallery, London. Millais came from a Jersey family and spent his childhood in the island. He became the youngest student of the Royal Academy of Art in London and later went on to become the President of the Academy. This painting shows the young adventurer Walter Raleigh listening intently to the stories of an old sailor who sits next to an anchor and exotic birds brought back from foreign climes. Raleigh’s successful future life is shown in the richness of embroidered green doublet and the model ship lying on the sand, whilst the sailor points to the seas that the boy would later explore. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) was an adventurer, courtier to Elizabeth I, navigator, historian, author and poet. He was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and became an MP in 1584, when he received extensive estates in Ireland. He was then knighted and appointed captain of the Queen's Guard in 1587. In 1600 he was appointed Governor of Jersey but only spent two months out of his three years of governorship in the Island. However, he did save Mont Orgueil from demolition and also renamed the new St Helier fortress Elizabeth Castle in honour of the ageing Queen. (Sophie Gorman, 2009)
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