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Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

William Henry Hunt

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William Henry Hunt began studying with John Varley (1778–1842), draftsman and founding member in 1804 of the Society of Painters in Water Colours. Evidence of this tutelage is apparent in Hunt’s early landscapes, genre scenes, and architectural studies. In 1806, Hunt showed at the Royal Academy and enrolled for formal study the following year. Early in his career, he found employment by painting views of gentleman’s country seats, of which the Cassiobury drawing is one example. Hunt worked primarily in watercolor and first exhibited at the Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1814, joining as a full member in 1826. He is best known for his still lifes, for which the English art critic and theorist John Ruskin called him “the good peach and apple painter” in 1879 (Treble, Rosemary. "Hastings. William Henry Hunt," in The Burlington Magazine 123, no. 941, Aug. 1981: 502). (JGK)