Sunday, August 29, 2010

William Henry Hunt - Still-life with basket, nest, egg, red currants and ladybird

Price Realized £3,824

signed 'W. HUNT.' (lower right)
pencil and watercolour with gum arabic and with scratching out
7¼ x 11¼ in. (18.4 x 28.6 cm.)

Hunt was apprenticed to John Varley at the age of seven and worked with John Linnell for much of his early career. Hunt developed a new technique in which pure watercolour is applied to a ground of Chinese white. He perfected a style of stippling which gives his finished works a jewel-like enamelled effect. Birds' nests were a favourite subject and Hunt earned himself the nickname 'Birds' Nest Hunt'. Chaffinch and sparrow's nests feature with particular regularity. In the present watercolour the empty basket perfectly echoes the empty nest: two circlets, one woven by man and one by birds.

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