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Hunt, William Henry
British, 1790 - 1864
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An outstanding technician who specialized in still life compositions and genre subjects, "Bird's-nest" Hunt was the son of a London manufacturer. He studied under John Varley in 1804-1811, spending some of this period at the Royal Academy Schools and at Dr. Thomas Monro's "academy." His early works include watercolor portraits in miniature and landscapes, but by the time he joined the Old Water-Colour Society in 1824 (he became a full member two years later) Hunt was narrowing his field. He exhibited his first bird's-nest study in 1830, and over the following decades his still lifes of fruit, flowers, nests, and eggs (their remarkable luminosity is the effect of watercolor and gouache painted on a hard ground of Chinese white and gum) became prized objects. During the 1830s and 1840s he also exhibited a number of genre scenes, chiefly of figures in domestic settings, some of which are candlelit. Hunt's admirers included John Ruskin, who took lessons from him in 1854 and 1861. (Wilton/Lyles 1993, p. 317)

Ref Number: XVIII.151

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