[Signed Holman Hunt letter.]


Holman Hunt (1827 - 1910)

Important letter written, signed and dated 13th January 1896, by William Holman Hunt, with the original envelope post marked January 14th 1896. The letter if from William Holman Hunt, (1827-1910) and addresses to John Throgmorton Middlemore, the purchaser of two … Read Full Description

$A 3,500

In stock

S/N: EMP-HUNT-001–226671
Categories: ,
Free Shipping
[Signed Holman Hunt letter.] GENERAL

Within Australia

All orders ship free
within Australia
[Signed Holman Hunt letter.] GENERAL

Rest of the World

Orders over A$300
ship free worldwide

See Shipping page for Terms & Conditions


Full Title:

[Signed Holman Hunt letter.]




Holman Hunt (1827 - 1910)


In good condition


Manuscript Letter

Paper Size: 

x 117mm
[Signed Holman Hunt letter.] - Antique Ephemera from 1896

Genuine antique



Important letter written, signed and dated 13th January 1896, by William Holman Hunt, with the original envelope post marked January 14th 1896. The letter if from William Holman Hunt, (1827-1910) and addresses to John Throgmorton Middlemore, the purchaser of two of Holman Hunt’s most important paintings, The Triumph of the Innocents and Christ Among the Doctors.

W. Holman Hunt’, Draycott Lodge, Fulham, 13 January 1896, to Mr Middlemore, ‘Your letter of the 11th inst. is all that can be deserid [sic] in expressing the terms of the bargain for the two pictures of The Triumph of the Innocents, and The Christ among the Doctors. I have further to thank you for generous provisions beyond the terms I demanded’, …

The letter continues with Hunt advising he will write to his carver and gilder concerning the frame, etc.,

Holman Hunt was one of the three most important members of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood movement. The Pre-Raphaelites were a secret society of young artists (and one writer, Ruskin), founded in London in 1848. The name Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood referred to the groups’ opposition to the Royal Academy’s promotion of the Renaissance master Raphael. They were opposed to the Academy’s promotion of the ideal as exemplified in the work of Raphael. They were also in revolt against the triviality of the immensely popular genre painting of time. Inspired by the theories of John Ruskin, who urged artists to ‘go to nature’, they believed in an art of serious subjects treated with maximum realism. Their principal themes were initially religious, but they also used subjects from literature and poetry, particularly those dealing with love and death. They also explored modern social problems. Its principal members were William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. After initial heavy opposition the Pre-Raphaelites became highly influential, with a second phase of the movement from about 1860.

John Throgmorton Middlemore was the heir to a leather business founded by his father and he established The Middlemore Homes one of many agencies involved in child migration to Canada and Australia in the late 19th and early 20th century. Middlemore was also a great supporter of the Pre-Ralhaelite artists purchasing many of their paintings and drawings. Many of these were donated to the Birmingham, Liverpool and what is now known as the Tate Gallery.

The Triumph of the Innocents 1883–4 (Tate collection – Presented by Sir John Middlemore Bt 1918)

This famous painting was presented by Sir John Middlemore Bt in 1918 to the Tate Gallery.

Hunt began painting this subject while on his third visit to the Holy Land in the 1870s. It shows Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus escaping to Egypt as King Herod kills all the first-born males or ‘innocents’ in Bethlehem, described in The Gospel of Matthew, 2: 16-18.

On returning in 1878 from the Holy Land, Holman Hunt, who still kept on his house at Jerusalem, worked anew on his ‘Triumph of the Linocents’ at a Chelsea studio. The first picture he temporarily abandoned, and began a new version, which was finished in 1885. After exhibition in the Fine Art Society’s Galleries, this was acquired by Mr. J. T. Middlemore of Birmingham. Meanwhile Holman Hunt had repaired and repainted the earlier version, which was acquired by the Liverpool Art Gallery for 3500 guineas. The original design of the picture, which varies considerably from both the large versions, is in the collection of Sidney Morse.

Christ among the Doctors 1886 (Private collection)

A water-colour, ‘Christ among the Doctors,’ which now belongs to Mr. Middlemore, was executed in 1886, in which year as complete a collection of Holman Hunt’s works as could be brought together was shown by the Fine Art Society in London.





Hunt was born in London, the son of a warehouse manager. He worked as an office clerk before being accepted at the Royal Academy Schools in 1844. He met J.E. Millais around this time. He exhibited at the Royal Manchester Institution from 1845, and at the Royal Academy and the British Institution from 1846. In September 1848, with D.G. Rossetti and Millais, he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The group’s stated aims were: 1, To have genuine ideas to express; 2, to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them; 3, to sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote; and 4, and most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues. (William Michael Rossetti, ed., Dante Gabriel Rossetti: His Family-Letters, with a Memoir, London 1895, I, p.135) In 1850 Hunt exhibited A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) at the Royal Academy; it was sold to Thomas Combe, who become his major patron, friend and business adviser. In 1852 he sold The Hireling Shepherd (City of Manchester Art Galleries), his first work to display his new style of symbolic realism which was intended to expressed Christian ideals. His 1853 Royal Academy exhibits attracted the attention of Thomas Fairbairn, who commissioned him to complete The Awakening Conscience (1853, Tate Gallery T02075). Hunt left England for Egypt in January 1854, spending two years in the Holy Land. The major painting to result from this stay was The Scapegoat (1854-5, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight). He contributed to Moxon’s edition of Tennyson’s Poems in 1857. In 1865 he married Fanny Waugh. They left England for the East in August 1866; however while in quarantine detention in Florence Fanny gave birth to a son, contracted miliary fever and died. Hunt returned to England in September 1867. The following year he travelled back to Florence to work on a memorial to Fanny. Hunt was elected a member of the Old Water-Colour Society in 1869. He visited Jerusalem in August of that year. In 1875 he married Fanny’s sister Edith, and returned to Jerusalem, where he began The Triumph of the Innocents (see Tate Gallery T03321, N03334). He returned to London in 1878, preferring to exhibit at the Grosvenor and New Galleries (1877-99) or in one-picture exhibitions, rather than with the Royal Academy. His first retrospective was held in London in 1886, and was accompanied by the publication of his series of articles on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the Contemporary Review. He visited the Middle East for the last time in 1892. By the end of the century his eyesight had deteriorated. In 1905 he was awarded the Order of Merit and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law by Oxford University. His memoirs were published that year. A series of one-man shows was held in 1906-7, in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. In 1907 his painting The Ship (1875, Tate Gallery N02120) was bought by a group of his friends and presented to the Tate Gallery to commemorate the artist’s eightieth birthday. He died in London.

Choose currency

Exchange rates are only indicative. All orders will be processed in Australian dollars. The actual amount charged may vary depending on the exchange rate and conversion fees applied by your credit card issuer.

Account Login

The List

Join our exclusive mailing list for first access to new acquisitions and special offers.