1790 - 1864
Bird’s Nest

Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1820
Image size: 11½ x 8⅜ inches

William Henry Hunt was a painter and watercolourist of fruit and flowers, landscapes and rustic genre. Hunt’s works influenced many Victorian artists.

Hunt’s parents decided on an artistic career for him, due to a deformity in his legs, which made it difficult for him to walk.  He was apprenticed to John Varley in about 1804 and one of his fellow pupils was John Linnell. The two artists liked each other’s work and went on sketching tours together, including one to Hastings in 1809.

In 1807 Hunt began to exhibit oils at the RA and in 1808 entered RA schools. By 1815 he had set up on his own as a rustic and architectural painter.

Hunt was elected to the ARWS in 1824 and the Old Watercolour Society in 1826. From about 1827 he began to paint fruit and flowers, and candlelight scenes.

Over the years his technique also changed, using body-colour he developed an individual method of hatching and stippling over a white ground, similar to that of Myles Birket Foster.

Hunt was sometimes referred to as Hedgerow Hunt or Birds Nest Hunt.

Museums
Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, Leeds City Art Gallery, Glasgow Art Gallery, Bushey Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

Literature

Witt, Sir John Clermont. William Henry Hunt (1790-1864), Life and Work: with a Catalogue. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1982.  William Henry Hunt Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 1981.