Arthur Hughes (27 January 1832
– 22 December 1915), was an English painter and illustrator
associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Hughes was born in London. In 1846 he entered the art school
at Somerset House, his first master being Alfred Stevens,
and later entered the Royal Academy schools. Here he met
John Everett Millais and Holman Hunt, and became one of the
Pre-Raphaelite group of painters. His first picture,
Musidora, was hung at the Royal Academy when he was only 17,
and thenceforth he contributed almost annually not only to
the Royal Academy but later also to the Grosvenor and New
In 1855 Hughes married Tryphena Foord, his model for April
Love. Hughes died in Kew Green, London in 1915, leaving
about 700 known paintings and drawings, along with over 750
book illustrations. Following the death of Tryphena Hughes
in 1921, their daughter Emily had to move to a smaller
house. There was, therefore, a shortage of space. As a
result she had her father’s remaining preparatory sketches,
and all his private papers and correspondence, destroyed. He
was the uncle of the English painter Edward Robert Hughes.
His best-known paintings are April Love and The Long
Engagement, both of which depict troubled couples
contemplating the transience of love and beauty. They were
inspired by John Everett Millais's earlier "couple"
paintings but place far greater emphasis on the pathos of
human inability to maintain the freshness of youthful
feeling in comparison to the regenerative power of nature.
Like Millais, Hughes also
painted an Ophelia and illustrated Keats's poem The Eve of
St. Agnes. Hughes's version of the latter is in the form of
a secular triptych, a technique he repeated for scenes from
Shakespeare's As You Like It. His works are noted for their
magical, glowing colouring and delicate draughtsmanship.
The beautiful oil portrait
Springtide, first exhibited in Dublin in 1855, features his
Hughes was in close contact
with the writer George MacDonald and illustrated some of his
books, as well as producing numerous illustrations for
Norman MacLeod's monthly magazine, Good Words.
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