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12

William Henry Hunt

An oyster shell and an onion

Property from the Collection of the late Cyril and Shirley Fry

William Henry Hunt

William Henry Hunt

An oyster shell and an onion

An oyster shell and an onion

Property from the Collection of the late Cyril and Shirley Fry

William Henry Hunt

London 1790 - 1864

An oyster shell and an onion


Watercolour and bodycolour;

signed lower right: W Hunt

123 by 167 mm

This work is very well preserved. The tip of the lower left corner is slightly disturbed, but this is very minor indeed and can only be seen on very close inspection. There are possibly three or four unobtrusive foxmarks to the right of the oyster, but again this can hardly be seen. Please note the work has not been examined out of its frame.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

John Ruskin (1819-1900), for whom the work was painted;
James Orrock (1829-1913);
Sir William H. Lever, Bt, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851-1925),
presented by him to a 'Red Cross Sale', London, Christie's, 16 April 1915, lot 615;
A.A.L. Passingham,
Miss N. Armitage,
her sale, London, Christie's, 14 October 1969, lot 101;
Cyril and Shirley Fry, by 1981
J.L. Roget, A History of the Old Water-Colour Society, vol. II, London 1891, p. 196;
J. Witt, William Henry Hunt (1790-1864). Life and Work, London 1982, pp. 11, 54, 202, no. 634, pl. 27
London, Old Watercolour Society, 1859, no. 226;
London, Earls Court, The Victorian Era Exhibition, 1897;
London, The Fine Art Society, The Fine Art Society's Exhibition, 1901, no. 92;
London, The Fry Gallery, Watercolours and Drawings from the Collection of Mr and Mrs Cyril Fry, 1981;
London, Royal Academy, The Great Age of British Watercolours 1750-1880, 1993, no. 371

Dating from 1859, the present still-life is one of a small number that Hunt painted for his friend John Ruskin and that he exhibited at the Old Watercolour Society's annual exhibition between 1856 and 1861.


The work seems to have stretched Hunt to his limits, as he is recorded as exclaiming: 'How difficult it is to paint this oyster-shell'. Ruskin, however, always gave Hunt his full (and influential) backing, once writing that he did not know of 'another man in the Old Water-Colour Society with so keen an eye for truth or with power so universal.’1


1. Witt, op. cit., pp. 53-54