Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/289

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Hunt
Hunter
283

from the completion of an engagement which had too much the nature of a task to be performed with perfect pleasure.

Hunt was very industrious, rising early, painting till one, when he had his dinner, and resuming work till dusk. He took about a fortnight or eighteen days over his little drawings, and the number of his works exhibited in Pall Mall was about eight hundred. He never ceased to study, and even as late as 1862 wrote that he had learned much from the drawings of Birket Foster and other exhibitors in Pall Mall. To the end of his life he enjoyed an occasional visit to the theatre, and was fond of fireworks. He married and had one daughter, but in the last years of his life his house was kept by his sister-in-law, Miss Holloway. In 1855 eleven of his water-colours attracted much attention at the Paris universal exhibition, and the year after he was elected a member of the Royal Academy at Amsterdam. He was deeply affected in 1863 by the death of his old friend Mulready, and he was in a very weak state when he attended at the Water-colour Society to examine the drawings sent in by candidates for election as associates. He died of paralysis on 10 Feb. 1864, and was buried at Highgate cemetery. Till the end of his life the demand for his drawings steadily increased, although the prices he obtained for them were very small compared with their present value. Even before he died one of his drawings, `Too Hot' (a boy eating porridge), sold for three hundred guineas, and the same drawing, or a replica of it, and another, called `The Eavesdropper,' sold for 750 guineas apiece at Mr. Quilter's sale in 1875. Some of his flower and fruit pieces, for example `Roses in a Jar' (11½ inches by 9) at the sale of the Wade collection in 1872, have fetched five hundred guineas. In spite of the small prices paid him for his drawings, Hunt left 20,000l. at his death.

Hunt's drawings illustrate the whole history of English painting in water-colour. He began with the early 'tinted drawing,' outlined with the pen, the shadows laid in with neutral tints, and the colour reserved mainly for the high lights, and used sparingly. Subsequently he employed pure transparent colour for the whole drawing, gradually admitting body colour in union with transparent until in his latest fruit and flower pieces there is little else than body colour. He described his method in later years as `pure colour over pure colour,' and he obtained the most brilliant effects of which his materials were capable by touches of pure colour on pure colour over opaque white.Though he knew every variety and resource of handling, his peculiar tendency was to pure colour rather than mixed tints, and to hatch and stipple rather than wash. This led in his later drawings to what is described by Mr. Ruskin as `a broken execution by detached and sharply defined touches.' Hunt had a few pupils, and once sent a young artist the sound advice `never to copy any one's manner,' and `to bear in mind that there is something more to accomplish than he will ever do;' but although he was such a master of his art he was unable to explain his methods to others. Hunt drew at least two portraits of himself, one of which belongs to Mr. Sutton Palmer, the water-colour painter, and the other to Mr. Osler, and a bust of him by Alexander Munro is on the staircase of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-colours. There are a few drawings by Hunt at the British and South Kensington Museums. Some fine collections of his drawings were made by Mr. Wade (Hunt's doctor), Mr. Ruskin, and others, but probably the best are now those of Mr. James Orrock and Mr. Louis Huth.

[Roget's Hist. of the Old Water Colour Society; Redgrave's Dict. 1878; Redgraves' Century of Painters, 1890; Bryan's Dict. (Graves and Armstrong); Graves's Dict.; Encyclopædia Britannica; Athenæum, 20 Feb. 1864; Fraser's Mag. November 1865; Ruskin's Notes on Samuel Prout and William Hunt; W. E. Church's W. M. Thackeray as an Artist and Art Critic; The Reader, 27 Feb. 1864; Royal Academy Catalogues.]

C. M.

HUNTER, ALEXANDER, M.D. (1729–1809), physician, born at Edinburgh in 1729 (the Memoir says 1733), was eldest son of a druggist in good circumstances. He was sent to the grammar school at ten, and at fifteen to the university, where he remained until he was twenty-one, having devoted the last three years to medicine. He spent the next year or two studying in London, in Rouen (under Le Cat), and in Paris (under Petit), and on his return to Edinburgh graduated M.D. in 1753 (thesis, 'De Cantharidibus'). After practising for a few months at Gainsborough, and a few years at Beverley, he was invited to York in 1763, on the death of Dr. Perrot, and continued to practise there with great success until his death in 1809. His first literary venture was a small tract in 1764, an `Essay on the Nature and Virtues of the Buxton Waters,' which went through six editions. The last appeared in 1797 under the name of 'The Buxton Manual.' In 1806 he published a similar work on the `Waters of Harrowgate,' York, 8vo. He took an active part in founding the Agricultural Society at York in 1770, `and to give respect-