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