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The Pre-Raphaelite artists John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt were inspired to paint here in 1851. William wrote:
Millais agreed with me that for the subject of “Ophelia in the Stream,” which he had settled upon, and made a hasty sketch for, and for mine of “The Hireling Shepherd,” there was good probability of finding backgrounds along the banks of the little stream taking its rise and giving its name to our favourite haunt, Ewell; accordingly we gave a day to the exploration. Descending the stream for a mile from its source, I soon found all the material I wanted for my landscape composition, but we looked in vain during a long tracing of the changing water, walking along beaten lanes, and jumping over ditches and ruts in turn, without lighting upon a point that would suit my companion. Many fresh hopes were shattered, until he well-nigh felt despair, but round a turn in the meadows at Cuddington we pursued the crystal driven weeds with reawakening faith, when suddenly the “Millais luck” (a phrase which became a proverb) presented him with the exact composition of arboreal and floral richness he had dreamed of, so that he pointed exultantly, saying, “Look! Could anything be more perfect?” And we sat down to enjoy its loveliness, as surely as many thousand other revellers in the beauty of such scenery have done before the finished picture.
The Avenue, Worcester Park, Surrey KT4 7HL, UK