ARTHUR HUGHES Pre-Raphaelite Painter & Book
Hughes was born in London on 27 January 1832, to Edward and Amy Hughes.
He entered Archbishop Tenison's Grammar School in about 1838, and while
there displayed an early talent for drawing; in 1846 he entered the
School of Design, Somerset House where he studied under Alfred Stevens. In 1847 he enrolled in
the Antique Schools at the Royal Academy, winning a silver medal in
1849 for a drawing from the Antique, and in that same year exhibited
his first finished painting, Musidora,
at the Royal Academy. 1850 was the most important year of his
life: he first discovered Pre-Raphaelitism
by reading the Germ; he met Tryphena
Foord, his future wife and mother of his six children; and met Alexander Munro, Dante
Gabriel Rossetti, and Ford Madox Brown,
thenceforward being converted to their cause. In 1852 he sent
(c.1851-53, City of Manchester Art
Galleries) to the Royal Academy, and the following year began Orlando, which during the next six years
evolved into The Long Engagement.
In 1856 Hughes exhibited two of his best
paintings at the Royal Academy, The Eve of
St. Agnes and April Love,
the latter being purchased from the exhibition by William
Morris. In 1857 he joined with Rossetti,
Burne-Jones and others in painting murals on the walls of the
Oxford Union Debating Hall (now the Library), an effort which perhaps
inspired his later Arthurian works such as The
Knight of the Sun and Sir Galahad.
Another well-known painting, Home from Sea (1856-63, Ashmolean
Museum, Oxford), was begun at Chingford, Essex in 1856, but not
completed until 1862-63 when the figure of the girl, modelled by Tryphena, was added.
As well as being the best of the younger Pre-Raphaelite
followers, Hughes was one of the leading
book illustrators of the 'Sixties' school, producing drawings for Tennyson's Enoch Arden, Thomas Hughes's (no relation) Tom Brown's
School Days, George MacDonald's
the Back of the North Wind" & "The Princess and the
Goblin," and Christina Rossetti's Sing-Song.
Hughes's only official post was Art Examiner in the South Kensington
Schools, although he taught from January to August 1877 at the Working
Men's College. In 1912 he was awarded a Civil List Pension, and
on 23 December 1915 he died in Kew Green, London, having produced
approximately 700 known paintings & drawings and 750 book
illustrations during his lifetime. For more information, and a
catalogue of his works, see Arthur Hughes:
His Life and Works, A Catalogue Raisonné by Leonard Roberts,
with a Biographical Introduction by Stephen Wildman (Woodbridge: ACC Ltd., 1997). To purchase this
book, please proceed to the Publisher's Order Page
Anyone with additional information is encouraged
Arthur Hughes, c.1859
(from a carte de visite photograph by W. Jeffrey)
Also, a fine selection of books, catalogues, autograph letters, and
other reference material relating
to Hughes and the Pre-Raphaelites,
as well as a wide range of rare 19th century illustrated
books and poetry, are available for sale at our Antiquarian Bookstore.
Also, please Click Here for
works by Hughes currently on the market.