We've left Miss Clack behind and are starting to wind down the tale, though there is much yet to be revealed.
Though I haven't yet researched the author's history much further than basic Wikipedia information, I can't imagine that his portrayal of Miss Clack was based on anything other than personal experience of her type in real life.
Because of Collins' own highly unconventional relationships with women as well as his artistic history -- his father was a noted painter -- I wondered if he had any direct connection to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It's been some time since I've accessed my store of research, and I was never all that familiar with some of the fringe members of the PRB. And sure enough, the connection was there, through John Everett Millais as well as Collins' younger brother, the artist Charles Collins. Though the elder Collins was not an official member of the PRB, Charles was.
And now to continue. . . . .