- Arthur Hughes
- Also known as
primary name: Hughes, Arthur
- individual; painter/draughtsman; British; Male
- Life dates
- Painter and book illustrator.
Hughes entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1847, and in 1849 exhibited 'Musidora' (Birmingham), a figure-subject in the contemporary academic manner. In 1850 'The Germ' (see 1901,0516.9) converted him to Pre-Raphaelitism and he came to know Rossetti, Hunt and Madox Brown. In 1852 he exhibited his first Pre-Raphaelite painting, 'Ophelia' (Manchester), and in the same year met Millais, who was to be the chief formative influence on him. In 1857 he painted one of the Arthurian scenes in the Oxford Union (see 1885,0613.81). The few slowly-pondered paintings that he produced in the 1850s and early 1860s, especially 'April Love' (Exh. 1856, Tate Gallery), 'The Long Engagement' (1853-9, Birmingham) and 'Home from Sea' (1856-63, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), are among the most beautiful of all Pre-Raphaelite pictures; but though he continued to paint for the rest of his long life, their level of tension and passion could not be sustained. From the mid-1860s onwards his best work was in book illustration particularly of books for children. These included 'At the Back of the North Wind' and others by George Macdonald, Christina Rossetti's 'Sing Song' and -rather incongruously for his gentle spirit - 'Tom Brown's Schooldays'.
- L.Roberts: Arthur Hughes: His Life and Works: A Catalogue Raisonné, Antique Collector's Club, 1997 (Ci.4.32); R.K.Engen, 'Dictionary of Victorian Wood Engravers,' 1985