Hughes' lyrical aesthetic lends this unfinished study a quiet elegance. His most iconic image, Midsummer Eve (sold at Christie's, New York, 15 February 1995, lot 288, £267,516), is a triumphant testament to his artistic inheritance. As the nephew and pupil of renowned fairy painter Arthur Hughes (1832-1915), Edward was absorbed into the Pre-Raphaelite circle and assisted William Holman-Hunt (helping to complete the St Paul's version of The Light of the World, as Hunt's eyesight weakened). Hughes worked mainly in watercolour, painting literary subjects of a dreamy Symbolist hue, but also executed many portraits in red or black chalk. A regular contributor to The Royal Water-Colour Society, he was Vice-President from 1901-3, and his picture Biancabella and Samaritana was shown at the first Venice Biennale, 1895.