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Library acquires important Holman Hunt letters

The Library recently purchased at auction an important set of six letters from the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) to the art critic and historian Frederic George Stephens (1827-1907).

The letters were written in 1871-72 while Hunt was in Jerusalem, and they describe in remarkable detail the faltering progress of his major allegorical painting, The Shadow of Death.

As well as interesting art historians, the letters contain Hunt's observations on wider social and political affairs, including the Franco-Prussian War, and of the approach of the millennium and his doubts that it will usher in an age of peace. He also speaks of the American Civil War, and discusses his reading matter and its shortcomings.

The letters are an exciting addition to Library's important collection of letters and papers of William Holman Hunt.

Full details can be found in the Special Collections blog

Updated: Wed, Jul 4, 2012