Gateway to the Classics: Jan of the Windmill by Juliana Horatia Ewing
Jan of the Windmill by  Juliana Horatia Ewing

Front Matter

Note to the Original Edition

T HIS tale appeared in a serial form in "Aunt Judy's Magazine" in the year 1873, under the title of "The Miller's Thumb." As this name has been objected to, I have changed it: but to one which cannot mislead any who have read the tale into thinking that it is a new one. It has been thoroughly revised.

It may obviate some possible misapprehension if I say that this story was more or less suggested to me by hearing that Constable, the great Wiltshire landscape painter, was wont to boast of his miller's thumb, but that no other incident of my hero's history has any foundation in the life of this or any other artist.


The above note was written eight years ago. Within the last twelve months I have seen, for the first time, a painting by Gainsborough of a dark-eyed village boy, who was employed to grind the painter's colours in a country house in Somersetshire where he was painting. One day the painter came suddenly upon his little colour-grinder. The lad had set a palette for himself, and, brush in hand, was looking upwards as if for artistic inspiration. "Stay as you are!" shouted Gainsborough; and catching up a canvas, he made the portrait of which I speak. It is the property of F. W. Newton, Esq., of Barton Grange, near Taunton, where the incident occurred.
J. H. E.


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