WILLIAM HENRY HUNT (1790-1864), English water-colour painter, was born near Long Acre, London, on the 28th of March 1790. He was apprenticed about 1805 to John Varley, the landscape-painter, with whom he remained five or six years, exhibiting three oil pictures at the Royal Academy in 1807. He was early connected with the Society of Painters in Watercolour, of which body, then in a transition state, he was elected associate in 1824, and full member in 1827. To its exhibitions he was until the year of his death one of the most prolific contributors. Many years of Hunt's uneventful and industrious life were passed at Hastings. He died of apoplexy on the 10th of February 1864. Hunt was one of the creators of the English school of water-colour painting. His subjects, especially those of his later life, are extremely simple; but, by the delicacy, humour and fine power of their treatment, they rank second to works of the highest art only. Considered technically, his works exhibit all the resources of the water-colour painter's craft, from the purest transparent tinting to the boldest use of bodycolour, rough paper and scraping for texture. His sense of colour is perhaps as true as that of any English artist. "He was," says Ruskin, "take him for all in all, the finest painter of still life that ever existed." Several characteristic examples of Hunt's work, as the "Boy and Goat," "Brown Study" and "Plums, Primroses and Birds' Nests" are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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