ALFRED WILLIAM HUNT, RWS
Washing Day, Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire
Signed and inscribed with title on a label on the backboard
Watercolour heightened with white and scratching out
28 by 38.5 cm., 11 by 15 ¼ in.
(frame size 46 by 56.5 cm., 18 by 22 ¼ in.)
Hunt was born in Liverpool in 1830. He began to paint while at the Liverpool Collegiate School. However, at his father’s suggestion he went in 1848 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford to study classics. His career there was distinguished; he won the Newdigate Prize in 1851 for his poem Nineveh, and he became a fellow of Corpus in 1853. He did not, however, abandon his artistic practice for, encourage by Ruskin, he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, and afterwards contributed landscapes in oil and watercolour to London and other provincial exhibitions. In 1861 he married, gave up his Fellowship, and in 1862 was elected as an Associate of the Old Water-Colour Society, receiving full membership in 1864. His work is distinguished mainly by its exquisite quality and poetic rendering of atmosphere. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the extraordinary detail apparent in his landscapes and the careful rendering of grass, leaves and trees is a consequence of this.
This view of Robin Hood’s Bay near Whitby is very similar to Hunt’s 1887 watercolour Robin Hood’s Bay – Mending Nets, exhibited at the Old Water-Colour Society, 1887, no.227 (now in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Hunt showed two views of Robin Hood’s Bay at the Old Water-Colour Society in 1887. The second, Washing Day, is untraced and may be the present work.