Thatched Cottages at St Albans

Thatched Cottages at St Albans



William Henry Hunt (1790-1864)
Cottages near St Albans, Hertfordshire

Inscribed on old label: Cottages/near St Albans/by/Wm Hy Hunt
Watercolour heightened with bodycolour, gum arabic and scratching out
179 x 259mm., 7 x 10in.

With Spink-Leger, London, 2000

London, Spink-Leger, Feeling through the Eye - the New Landscape in Britain 1800-1830, 2000, no. 38

Hunt was born in Covent Garden, London and, showing promise as a draughtsman, his father apprenticed him to John Varley in 1806. He entered the Royal Academy school in 1808 and soon afterwards he earned commissioned from the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Essex to drawing interiors at Chatsworth and Cassiobury Park respectively. From birth, he had deformed legs and walking was difficult so interiors, still-lives and portraits were obvious subject matters. From the late 1820s he started exhibiting still-lives and soon achieved great success with collectors.

This is an early work dating from between 1808 and 1820 when Hunt's early patron Dr Thomas Monro took a cottage at Bushey, Hertfordshire where Hunt was a frequent visitor. He produced a number of similar drawings of cottages and farm buildings during this period. A view of St Albans Cathedral by Hunt is in the Victoria and Albert Museum and a view of a street in St Albans is in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (see John Witt,
William Henry Hunt, 1982, nos. 168 and 247).