Millais designed many wood-engraved illustrations for books and magazines, and often also did versions of these works in watercolour. "The Head of Bran" illustrates a poem by George Meredith and was published in "Once a Week" on February 4, 1860. A sketch for this engraving is currently held at Birmingham Art Gallery. The watercolour may have been produced at around the same time, and was certainly completed by 1863 when it was listed in an account book kept by the artist's wife.
We are grateful to Dr. Malcolm Warner for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.