The Birthday: William Holman Hunt

William Holman Hunt: The Birthday

The Birthday is an 1868 portrait of William Holman Hunt’s second wife Edith Waugh, the sister of his deceased wife Fanny. Edith wears dark clothing with a mastery of different features while holding, among other things, roses, a necklace, and a decorative fan. Edith’s expression is melancholic and she seems to shrink from the very portrait with her head. Perhaps the theme is one of world-weariness or rather a weariness with material possessions. If so, Hunt is painting his wife’s quasi-spiritual purity.

Her gaze is vacant and she seems absent in a sedate atmosphere that reminds her of the recent death of her sister Fanny.

Hunt was a prominent English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

William Holman Hunt’s The Birthday The picture is in the Toledo Museum in Ohio United States of America

1 Comment

  1. I am a University Art History Student, attempting to complete a Research Paper, based on the Artist of this very beautiful work, “The Birthday” – -William Holman Hunt. As part of my Research, I am required to obtain the Medium (Oil Paint on Canvas?) & Measurements (Length & Width) of this painting, and also those of the Drawing (Pencil? Ink on Paper?) (Length & Width) of “Edith and Her Children” at the Toledo Museum of Art? I cannot find this information anywhere!!!

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