Three small portraits of Gentlemen, graphite and watercolor with scratching out, fixed with gum Arabic on cream textured card, two signed to verso “WM Hunt, 6 Marchmont St, Brunswick Square”.
William Henry Hunt was born near Long Acre in London on 28th March 1790. He was apprenticed to landscape painter John Varley for 5 years during which time he exhibited 3 oil paintings at the Royal Academy in 1807. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1808. He is known to have been resident at 6 Marchmont Street, Brunswick Square from 1825 to 1845.
He was elected an associate of the Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1824. after which time he painted almost exclusively in watercolour, and was awarded full membership in 1827. He continued to exhibit at the society’s exhibitions until the year of his death in 1864.
He is best known for his still lives of fruit, flowers and often of birds' nests with or without eggs, earning him the nickname “Birds' Nest Hunt”. However his delicate pencil and watercolour portraits, entirely drawn from life and often of ordinary working men and women, as well as more formal portraits such as these, are widely recognised for their close observation and vivid naturalism. His work was so popular during his lifetime that, towards the end of his life, he struggled to meet the demands upon his time.
The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica says of Hunt: “Considered technically, his works exhibit all the resources of the watercolor painter’s craft, from the purest transparent tinting to the boldest use of body colour, rough paper and scraping for texture”. John Ruskin described him as “the finest painter of still life that ever existed”.
For a full biography see www.avictorian.com
William Henry Hunt's drawings and watercolours are held in the V & A, Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, the Courtauld Gallery, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and in museums and galleries worldwide.
I would prefer not to split these drawings as they are clearly a familial group. however if you would like me to consider this or have any other questions about them, please don't hesitate to contact me.