The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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William Holman Hunt, 1827-1910

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1827.04.02
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1910.09.07
Place of Death: London


William Holman Hunt was an English painter. He married Fanny Waugh in 1865 but she died in December 1866. In 1875 he married his sister-in-law Edith Waugh. The marriage took place in Switzerland as it was illegal in Britain.


Hunt was an original member of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. Inspired by religious zeal and a desire to be historically accurate in the settings of his Biblical paintings, he visited the Holy Land in 1854 and again in 1875.

In 1872 Whistler was awarded a commission by Sir Henry Cole to provide two mosiacs for the South Kensington Museum. However, Whistler's designs were never completed. Hunt too was invited to participate but failed to produce anything. Hunt wrote to Whistler in March 1885 with his apologies for his wife and himself having missed the delivery of his Ten O'Clock Lecture for the University Fine Arts Society at the Theatre Royal in Cambridge for which Whistler had sent him an invitation.

However, Hunt's moralistic and religious approach to art was completely opposed to the art for art's sake ethos of Whistler. In 1890 Whistler wrote that great people bought the works of Canaletto not those of men like Hunt. In May 1891 William Ernest Henley wrote that he hoped Whistler would enjoy his attack on Hunt.


Chelsea, Pimlico, Belgravia Directory, London, 1885; Hunt, W. H., 'The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: A Fight for Art', Contemporary Review, vol. 49, 1886, pp. 471-88, 737-50, 820-33; Hunt, W. H., 'Painting The Scapegoat' Contemporary Review, vol. 52, 1887, pp. 21-38, 206-20; Hunt, W. H., Pre-Raphaelitism and Pre-Raphaelite, 2 vols, London, 1905; Annual Register, London, 1910, pp.135-36; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Maas, Jeremy, The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984; Bronkhurst, Judith, 'William Holman Hunt', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 28 March 2002).