- Also known as
William Holman Hunt
primary name: Hunt, William Holman
other name: Holman Hunt, William
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; British; Male
- Life dates
- 2 Wilton Terrace, Campden Hill, London (1875)
- Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman on wood and etcher; founder and chief figure of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; member of the Royal Watercolour Society.
Holman Hunt came to know Rossetti and Millais at the Royal Academy Schools, and in 1848 joined them in founding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His earliest subjects were either historical, like 'Rienzi' (1849) or 'A Converted British Family sheltering a Christian Priest from the Persecution of the Druids' (1850), or taken from Keats and Shakespeare, like 'Madeleine and Porphyro' (1848), 'Claudio and Isabella' (1850) and 'Valentine and Sylvia' (1851). In 1853 he exhibited two landscapes, 'The Hireling Shepherd' and 'Our English Coasts, 1852 (Strayed Sheep)', each conveying an implicit rather than an overt moral; and in 1854 'The Light of the World' and his first 'modern' moralising subject 'The Awakening Conscience'. In the same year he went to Palestine, in accordance with the doctrine of 'Truth to Nature' to paint biblical subjects in their authentic settings. 'The Scapegoat' (exhibited 1856) is the best-known result of this expedition. He paid two further visits to Palestine, in 1869 and 1875.
All his life Holman Hunt remained faithful to the doctrines of Pre-Raphaelitism, as he understood them and as he expounded them in his autobiographical Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1905). His later paintings are no less carefully detailed, but they seem somehow overweighted by their own elaboration.
A letter from Holman Hunt to the poet Jean Ingelow dated 17 May 1875 accepting an invitation to dinner was presented with other archival material by Robin de Beaumont in 1992 (q.v.)
- Judith Bronkhurst, WHH, Yale 2006