ALFRED WILLIAM HUNT, RWS
Windsor Castle - Morning
Watercolour heightened with scratching out
26 by 36.5 cm., 10 ¼ by 14 ¼ in.
(frame size 45 by 55.5 cm., 17 ¾ by )
By family descent.
Hunt was born in Liverpool in 1830. He began to paint while at the Liverpool Collegiate School. However, at his father’s suggestion he went in 1848 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford to study classics. His career there was distinguished; he won the Newdigate Prize in 1851 for his poem Nineveh, and he became a fellow of Corpus in 1853. He did not, however, abandon his artistic practice for, encourage by Ruskin, he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, and afterwards contributed landscapes in oil and watercolour to London and other provincial exhibitions. In 1861 he married, gave up his Fellowship, and in 1862 was elected as an Associate of the Old Water-Colour Society, receiving full membership in 1864. His work is distinguished mainly by its exquisite quality and poetic rendering of atmosphere. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the extraordinary detail apparent in his landscapes and the careful rendering of grass, leaves and trees is a consequence of this.
The present work is related to the artist’s large 1889 watercolour of Windsor Castle now in the collection of the Tate Gallery. It also shows the castle as viewed from the Eton side of the River Thames although slightly further upstream and away from the moored boats which feature in the foreground of the Tate picture. There is another watercolour version of the Tate picture in the collection of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and a related sketch in the collection of the British Museum. Hunt spent a considerable time in Windsor in 1888, filling several sketchbooks. Two finished watercolours of the castle were later exhibited at the Royal Watercolour Society in 1889 and 1890.