Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 68. Light and Shade.

William Henry Hunt

Light and Shade

Auction Closed

January 26, 04:31 PM GMT


7,000 - 9,000 USD

Lot Details


William Henry Hunt

London 1790 - 1864

Light and Shade 

Watercolor and bodycolor heightened with scratching out and gum arabic;

signed twice lower right: W. Hunt 1836, signed for a third time upper right: W.Hunt 183.. 

334 by 221 mm; 13 by 8½ in.

Please note that the other version of this work, mentioned in the final paragraph of the catalogue entry, is signed and dated 1835.
Sale, London, Sotheby's Belgravia, 3 October 1978, lot 108 (as Off to bed);
with Chris Beetles Gallery, London

William Henry Hunt began life as a protégé of Dr Thomas Monro and a pupil of John Varley. He built a career that not only earned him financial security, but the respect of his fellow artists and much high praise from London’s fiercest art critics.

John Ruskin hung Hunt’s work (alongside his favorite Turners) in his bedroom and he was to describe him as one of the leading exponents of English naturalism.

This sensitive and technically highly accomplished watercolor is one of several that Hunt devoted to Black subjects. Created with a careful build-up of layers of color – a method that would become familiar to the French impressionists – Hunt captures the flickering candle-light and its effects on the surrounding surfaces with seeming ease.

Another version of this composition by Hunt, with small compositional differences, exists in an American private collection. That work is signed and dated 1835 and is inscribed on a former backboard ‘Light and Shade’. For this reason that title has also been given to the present work.