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Edwardian Pre-Raphaelites, The Art of John and Mary Young Hunter

8th June - 28th July 2000

The Bow in the Cloud, by Mary Young Hunter, c.1906

The Bow in the Cloud
Mary Young Hunter
Oil on panel
38 x 30 in
96.5 x 76 cm
Signed lower right, 'MY Hunter'
Exhibited: London Royal Academy, 1906, (60)
Literature: Royal Academy Pictures, 1906, p. 131, Chester, 1908, p. 505 (illus., p. 501)

In this extraordinary work, Mary Young Hunter returns to the original inspiration of that group of Edwardian Pre-Raphaelites of which she was a member, in the work of John Everett Millais' The Blind Girl, 1856 (see Pyms Gallery Young Hunter exhibition catalogue) had been shown at the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition of 1898 (No. 56). M H Spielmann in his catalogue notes recorded the verdict of fellow Pre-Raphaelite, Ford Madox Brown, who described it as 'a religious picture and a glorious one'. This opinion was endorsed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti for whom The Blind Girl was 'one of the most touching and perfect things I know' (MH Spielman, Millais and his Works, London and Edinburgh, (William Blackwood and Sons, 1898, p. 98). It is likely that Young Hunter would have been aware of Millais' painting from this exhibition and although the composition has been essentially reversed, the relationship of the figure to the landscape is remarkably similar. Other ingredients, the rising land with buildings on the horizon and the rainbow would almost make one believe that Young Hunter had access to a photgraph of The Blind Girl when painting her picture.

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