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THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
CECIL ARTHUR HUNT, V.P.R.W.S. (1873-1965)
'Painting from Nature demands personal emphasis- As regards Nature it is not so much a matter of selecting certain facts, as of dwelling upon certain aspects - as line, mass, colour, structure or atmosphere' 'Cecil Arthur Hunt's Underlining', The Times, 21 October 1927
Elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Watecolours in 1925, Hunt was highly respected by his contemporaries, patrons and critics alike for his highly individual experiments and his exploration of the watercolour medium. Hunt loved the way watercolour could be manipulated in so many different ways and his passion for watercolour is reflected in the vast number of sketchbooks and watercolours executed during a lifetime devoted to working with the medium.
Hunt's greatness was to be able to cut to the essence of a scene, minimalise detail to the most important features and light his landscape like a theatre. His tools were also carefully chosen, a rough paper was used if he wanted a bright landscape and smooth paper for a more atmospheric evening view. His palette was also limited in order to enhance the expression of his painting and it is rare to find more than six colours in the palette of any individual picture.
Originally trained as a lawyer, Hunt took great pleasure in the detailed investigation of the landscape and scenery he painted. His quest for inspiring landscape took him all over Great Britain and Europe ( the watercolours in the current collection range from the isle of Skye to Southern France and the Jura) but his favourite landscape was that which included undulating hills and sharp escarpments. Sketching trips were often in the company of his great friend Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) and on these trips Hunt would sketch the impression and form of his subject, then later use postcards and photographs as aides-memoires in order to produce the finished work Sir William Russell-Flint (1880-1969) another friend attempted to copy Hunt's idiosyncratic watercolour style, but ultimately had to admit defeat.
For further information see F. Pearce, Cecil Arthur Hunt, V.P.R.W.S., R.B.A. 1873-1965, London, 1996.