Oil on fabric
Framed: 115.5 x 95.5 x 6 cm (45 1/2 x 37 5/8 x 2 3/8 in.); Unframed: 86.2 x 66.1 cm (33 15/16 x 26 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1984.41
Hunt was a prominent member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young British painters who banded together in 1848 in reaction against what they perceived to be the unimaginative and artificial historical painting of the Royal Academy.
The sitter, Mary Walker Waugh (1805–1886), was the artist's mother-in-law. The portrait was made shortly after the death of Hunt's wife, Fanny. In August of 1866 Hunt and his pregnant wife embarked for the Near East. Their son was born in Florence, but Fanny became ill and died. Mrs. Waugh blamed Hunt for the death of her daughter. Hunt and his son returned to London and moved into the Waugh household where he made this portrait. The sitter's stern look and the heavy background convey a tense and anger-filled atmosphere. The frame, designed by the artist, is original.
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