Saturday, January 2, 2010

William Holman Hunt - Fanny and Edith Waugh

Fanny Holman Hunt, 1866-1868

From the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio (link).

"We ... know from letters that Hunt wrote to W. J. Bunney, his studio assistant in Florence, that he reconstructed this memorial image of his wife with the same care and precision that he devoted to his major religious paintings. He took great care, for instance, to secure Fanny's own peacock shawl, the painting of which one contemporary reviewer took to be the "greatest tour de force of the exhibition" when it was shown at the 1869 Royal Academy." - The Victorian Web

Photograph of Fanny shared at the Pre-Raphaelite Art blog.

From Stephanie Pina at her website, The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood -
Isabella and the Pot of Basil

"... in 1865 at the age of thirty-eight, [William Holman Hunt married] Fanny Waugh, the daughter of a prosperous London chemist. In August the following year, when Fanny was seven months pregnant, they set out for what would have been Hunt's second visit to the East, and on 20 December 1866 she died at Florence after giving birth to a son. He was named Cyril Benoni (Hebrew for 'child of sorrow'). Nine years later Hunt married Fanny's younger sister Edith, flouting the Table of Affinities, outraging her family, and causing a permanent rift with his fellow PRB Thomas Woolner, who had married another Waugh daughter. Of this second marriage there were two children, Gladys, born in 1878, and Hilary Lushington, born on 6 May 1879." - from Christie's lot notes
The Birthday

"The Birthday (1868) is a striking portrait of the artist's sister-in-law, Edith Waugh, on her twenty-first birthday, surrounded by gifts. They include a cameo, which Holman Hunt had originally given to his first wife, Fanny Waugh, Edith's sister. ..."

"Edith had become a surrogate mother to Fanny and William’s son, and seven years after this painting, Edith and Hunt (age 48) were married in Switzerland – because English law (the Table of Affinities) forbade their marriage. Incidentally, Edith and Hunt, who by then was quite prominent, campaigned against this ridiculous prohibition, and in 1907 Parliament passed the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act, which sanctioned their union."

Information about Fanny and Edith from the Dictionary of artists' models
by Jill Berk Jiminez and Joanna Banham.

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