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William Holman Hunt RA in Venetian dress

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (photographed)

  • Date:

    1860s (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wynfield, David Wilkie, born 1837 - died 1887 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    albumen print from wet-collodion glass-plate negative

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case X, shelf 311, box U

This is a fine portrait. The artist's face is dominantly positioned on the page but is slightly out of focus. Some retouching (achieved by painting on the glass negative) around the eyes, however, draws attention to them. The photographer, David Wynfield, was also a painter of historical genre scenes. He was a founder member of the St John's Wood Clique in the early 1860s. Members shared an interest in historical genre and often held fancy-dress gatherings. Wynfield registered this photograph for copyright purposes in December 1863, which indicates that he regarded it seriously in commercial and artistic terms.

Physical description

Head and shoulders of a bearded man in a hat, full-face. With photograph of the sitter's autograph pasted below; mounted on card printed with toned border.

Place of Origin

London (photographed)


1860s (photographed)


Wynfield, David Wilkie, born 1837 - died 1887 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

albumen print from wet-collodion glass-plate negative

Object history note

One of 16 photographs [125 to 136 and 197-1945] of Victorian painters and illustrators, most members of the Royal Academy, in fancy dress, ca. 1860s.
Provenance: By descent to J E Hodgson, Dr Harold Hodgson. Letter, Hodgson to the V&A, Dec 18 1944: "I have included some photographs of artists - contemporaries of my father, in fancy dress that were taken by David Wynfield, an artist, one of the St John's Wood Clique - unfortunately, at this distance can't put names to them all." Records indicate the original gift comprised of 13 photographs. It is not clear if 126a, 136a and 197 were part of the original gift, although the donor's father is included in the additional group.
Note: Wynfield, the great-nephew of the Scottish painter Sir David Wilkie, was a painter of historical genre and a foundling member of the St John's Wood Clique in the early 1860s. Other members of this group included Philip Calderon, William Yeames, John Hodgson and John Philip, who are all represented in this collection of portraits. The Clique members shared an interest in historical genre, and often held fancy dress gatherings. Several of Wynfield's fancy dress portraits of his artist friends are registered in the copyright office, as of December 1863, indicating that he was involved with photography from the earliest days of the Clique's formation. He was the only member of the Clique not elected to the Royal Academy. Stylistically, his work recalls that of Julia Margaret Cameron, with whom he was acquainted.

Note: Print #9 in the Royal Academy is from the same sitting. Another print from this negative is in the National Portrait Gallery.

Descriptive line

Photographic portrait of William Holman Hunt in fancy dress, by David Wilkie Wynfield, England, 1863.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Fagence Cooper, Suzanne, Pre Raphaelite Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, V&A Publications, 2003. 176p., ill. ISBN I 85177 393 2
Diane Waggoner, The Pre-Raphaelite Lens. British photography and Painting, 1848 - 1875 Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-84822-067-6.

Subjects depicted

Hunt, William Holman


Photographs; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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