This edition of the correspondence and accompanying material originally appeared in The Bulletin of the John Rylands Library of Manchester 59 (1976-77): 95-126; 367-96.
he letters that John Ruskin and William Holman Hunt wrote to each other provide interesting glimpses of the critic's complex and often ironic relationship with the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. As Derrick Leon pointed out more than a quarter of a century ago," Of all the Pre-Raphaelites, Hunt was the one temperamentally most akin to Ruskin, and yet, by reason of fate, he was the one whom, until many years later, Ruskin was to know least well. With the same deep passion, the same deep purism, and the same inelasticity in their natures, they both served a similar conception of art as the expression of the religious attitude toward life; but though sprung from the same class, and each inheriting, to a marked degree, the traditional attitude of that class, they were nevertheless separated by Hunt's poverty and Ruskin's wealth." [Sources] Of course, more separated artist and critic than the state of their finances, for, as Leon himself indicates, both were very proud men, confident in their own ideas and not very willing to take either advice or criticism. I suspect that it was this similarity of temperament, more than any other factor, which long kept Hunt and Ruskin from becoming really intimate friends just as it was this same temperament which eventually drew them together. The very fact that they were so alike in so many ways thus created some of the most ironic aspects of their long relationship. For example, because Holman Hunt long felt himself unable to speak openly with Ruskin, the critic did not learn about his crucial artistic and spiritual influences upon the painter until they had known each other more than three decades. At the same time, it is unlikely that Ruskin ever realized the major influence that Hunt had upon his own criticism.
The most obvious importance of Ruskin to Hunt, Millais, and Rossetti was that he defended them in the press against unfair attack, thus playing a major role in their acceptance by the picture-buying public.
According to Coventry Patmore, the day The Times harshly attacked Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents," Millais came to me in great agitation and anger, and begged me to ask Ruskin to take the matter up. I went at once to Ruskin, and the next day after there appeared in the Times a letter of great length and amazing quality, considering how short a time Ruskin had to examine the picture and make up his mind about it." [Quoted from Basil Champneys, Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore, 2 vols. (London, 1900), i. 85, in Ruskin, Works, 12. xlvi.] The Rylands has Patmore's letter to Hunt of May 1851 in which he informed the artist," I have been unspeakably disgusted with notices of you and Millais. I wrote to Ruskin to draw his attention to the case, thinking that if he would write to the ' Times ' or ' Chronicle ' it might do some good. This he has been kind enough to do, and I suppose his letter is in to day. He says in his answer to my note, ' I wish Hunt would let me know his price for Valentine [rescuing Sylvia from Proteus] — I may perhaps be of service to him'" (2 Rylands Eng. MS. 1216115). The Library Edition of Ruskin's Works prints precisely this letter, which the critic wrote to Patmore on 10 May 1851, announcing: "I wrote to the Times yesterday; but the letter is not in it to-day; it went late, and might have been too late; but if it is not in Monday's, the letter shall go to the Chronicle, in a somewhat less polite form. My father has written to ask if the Ark picture be unsold, and what is its price. I wish Hunt would also let me know his price for Valentine. I may perhaps be of service to him" (12. xlvi). Ruskin in fact provided very material assistance to Hunt by encouraging Francis McCracken of Belfast, an early patron of both Millais and Hunt, to purchase his picture.
The Rylands also possesses Holman Hunt's reply to Patmore's good news. The artist told his friend:" I am delighted to hear that Ruskin has taken the field in defense of Millais and myself, for I had almost despaired of overcoming the evident opposition to our style which the example of the ' Times ' and other influential papers were breeding. If they had merely confined their remarks to a just spirit of criticism it would have been all fair, but, when they endeavoured to ruin our interest with the Academy and the patrons, it was necessary that some notice should be taken, and to have that by Ruskin is of all things what I could most desire" (Rylands Eng. MS. 1216116).
Ruskin first defended the young painters from harsh attacks by the contemporary reviewers on the grounds that their daring, often awkward realism was the necessary foundation for a new English art. The Pre-Raphaelites, in other words, were following the advice Ruskin had given young artists in the closing pages of the first volume of Modern Painters, which had appeared in 1843. There he had urged that neophytes, who are just learning to see with and through the actions of their hands,
should go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thoughts but how best to penetrate her meaning, and remembering her instruction; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing . . . and rejoicing always in the truth" (3.624).
Despite the fact that Ruskin and his editors emphasize several times that he was here speaking to the student, the painter just beginning, readers have frequently misunderstood his point, and even today one still occasionally comes across the misguided claim that he desired a "photographic realism." In fact, immediately after thus instructing the beginner, Ruskin adds that when the painter's "memories are stored, and their imaginations fed, and their hands firm . . . we will follow them wherever they choose to lead . . . They are then our masters, and are fit to be so" (3.624)). Ruskin, who had begun Modern Painters to defend Turner's late works, specifically those at the 1842 Royal Academy, instructs the young artist to follow Turner's development, beginning with a topographical landscape art and progressing only later to more imaginative work. Holman Hunt was therefore making a quite Ruskinian point when he emphasized in Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that when the friends agreed" to use the utmost elaboration in painting our first pictures, we never meant more than to insist that the practice was essential for training the eye and the hand of the young artist."
Although many commentators then and now have criticized the apparent inconsistency of Ruskin's praising first Turner's late works of vapor and fire and then the precise, hard edged realism of the Pre-Raphaelites, the critic was in fact quite true to his stated theories when he did so. Ruskin, one remembers, had turned to the painter's early works to demonstrate that Turner, who had been attacked for being untrue to nature, had served a long and careful apprenticeship to her; and when he defended both the Pre-Raphaelites and Turner in the same lectures and books he was not being anywhere as inconsistent as careless readers of his work have assumed: he praised the young men for taking the first steps that might lead to an imaginative art analogous to that of Turner, though not necessarily resembling it.
According to Holman Hunt, the members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle were in basic agreement with the tenets of Modern Painters, volume I, since they too believed that imaginative art had to be founded upon a close study of nature capable of piercing conventions of perception and artistic representation, Nonetheless, it is not clear if Ruskin was the direct, major source of these ideas, or even if the young painters had read the volume which contained them before they became friendly with its author.
Jacopo Tintoretto, The Annunciation. Scuola di San Rocco, Venice.
What is clear is that Hunt believed that his own reading of the second volume of Modern Painters (1846), which contained Ruskin's theories of beauty and imagination, crucially affected his own artistic development and that of the Brotherhood as well. I have previously explained in this journal how the artist's ambitious attempts to combine realism and elaborate iconography were inspired by a passage in Modern Painters, volume II, which explicates typological (or prefigurative) symbolism as an example of high painterly imagination. Describing the desolation in which the Virgin finds herself in Tintoretto's San Rocco Annunciation, Ruskin then points out that there is more than mere picturesqueness in this picture for if the spectator examines the
composition of the picture, he will find the whole symmetry of it depending on narrow line of light, the edge of a carpenter's square, which connects these unused tools with an object at the top of the brickwork, a white stone, four-square, the comer-stone of the old edifice, the base of its supporting column. This, I think, sufficiently explains the typical [typological] character of the whole: The ruined house is the Jewish dispensation; that obscurely arising in the dawning of the sky is the Christian; but the corner-stone of the old building remains, though the builders' tools lie idle beside it, and the stone which the builders refused is become the Headstone of the Corner. [4. 264-65]
Citing Psalm 118, Ruskin correctly perceives that the painter has made use of a commonplace type, or prefigurative image, to combine matter and spirit, realism and symbolism. Unlike allegory, typology emphasizes the reality of both symbol and that symbolized: Moses, Samson and Melchizedek, who also prefigure some aspect of Christ, exist in their own right. Drawing upon this central fact of typological symbolism, both Ruskin and Hunt made it an important part of their theories of art.
The typological symbolism which Ruskin explained in Modern Painters came as a revelation to Hunt, since it solved the artistic problems that had been troubling him. This symbolic mode, first of all, strikes the informed spectator as a natural language that inheres in the visual details themselves — and not as something laid upon the objects in some artificial manner. Indeed, as Ruskin points out, the first clue to the meaning of The Annunciation comes from its composition, which naturally and necessarily guides the eye to those details whose comprehension releases one into a world of religious vision. The second aspect of this kind of symbolism is that it spiritualizes the most brutal fact, allowing the painter to concentrate simultaneously upon painterly skills and his deeper message. Typology, in other words, allows Hunt to reconcile his love of detailed realism with his need to make painting depict the unseen truths of the spirit.
The crucial importance of this section of Modern Painters for Holman Hunt appears in the fact that he twice dwells upon it at length in his memoir, once quoting it in its entirety. First, when setting forth the events which led up to the formation of the Brotherhood, he reconstructs a conversation he had with Millais, during the course of which he related his encounter with the second volume of Modern Painters. According to Hunt, he told his friend that he had recently" had great delight in skimming over a certain book, Modern Painters, by a writer calling himself an Oxford Graduate; it was lent to me only for a few hours, but, by Jove! passages in it made my heart thrill. He feels the power and responsibility of art more than any author I have ever read" (i. 90). Ruskin's descriptions of Venetian painting, he told Millais, make you" see them with your inner sight, and you feel that the men who did them had been appointed by God, like old prophets, to bear a sacred message" (i. 90). He went on to tell his fellow student that Ruskin's readings of Tintoretto" make one see in the painter a sublime Hogarth. The Annunciation takes place in a ruined "house, with walls tumbled down; the place in that condition stands as a symbol of the Jewish Church . . . and it suggests an appropriateness in Joseph's occupation of a carpenter, that at first one did not recognise; he is the new builder!" (i. 90).
Left: The Scuola san Rocco on the left and the Chiesa di San Rocco at right angles to it on the right; one enters at the far doorway. Middle: a detail from the façade. Right: The location of Tinoretto's Annunciation in the Scuola. The Scuola has seen a magnificent restoration in recent years, which includes the addition of modern lighting. When Hunt and Ruskin visited, however, the room would have been poor lit and very dim with occasional reflections on the canvases that made them very hard to see,
Hunt returns to Tintoretto's Annunciation, Ruskin's interpretation, and their effect upon his own conceptions of art when he recounts how he and the author of Modern Painters together visited the Scuola di San Rocco in 1869. According to Hunt, the first picture" we stood before" was The Annunciation, and although he found the ruin and dilapidation much greater than he had expected," the image raised in my mind by the 'Oxford Graduate,' and retained ever since, was not so different from what I saw before me, as conjured-up scenes derived second-hand often prove to be at sight of the original" (ii. 260). More important, now that the painter finally had a chance to view the picture which had long been such a major, if indirect influence upon his work, he was gratified to discover the validity of Ruskin's interpretation. After examining the painting in detail, he concludes:" there could be no doubt that Tintoretto had the purpose to suggest the desolation that had come upon the existing Israelitish Church, and its replacement by a new edifice" (ii. 260). although Hunt does not here mention the fact, he had already made use of the typological image of the cornerstone employed by Tintoretto and explicated by Ruskin in his own Finding of the Saviour in the Temple (1860), and one may assume that he was well pleased to discover that Ruskin had been correct so many years before. although Hunt does not point out his own use of this image, he rather characteristically uses this occasion of his first inspection of The Annunciation to set forth his own theories of art. In so doing he joins his own cause with that of the great Venetian:
When language was not transcendental enough to complete the meaning of a revelation, symbols were relied upon for heavenly teaching, and familiar images, chosen from the known, were made to mirror the unknown spiritual truth. The forerunners and contemporaries of Tintoretto had consecrated the custom, to which he gave a larger value and more original meaning. How far such symbolism is warranted depends upon its unobtrusiveness and its restriction within limits not destroying natural beauty. There is no more reason why the features belonging to a picture should be distorted for the purpose of such imaginative suggestion than that the poet's metaphors should spoil his words for the ordinary uses of man. Tintoretto's meaning was expressed with no arbitrary or unnatural disturbance of the truth. [ii. 260-61]
In concluding this defense of an art which combines realism and intricate symbolism, Hunt implicitly merges himself with his great predecessor:" I thought what happiness Tintoretto must have felt when he had this illuminating thought presented to him, and of his joy in carrying it out on canvas, and was wondering how few were the men who had pondered over the picture to read it thoroughly, until in fulness of time the decipherer came and made it clear" (ii. 261). The painter here sounds much as if he were writing of himself, for both when he imagines the joy of Tintoretto's moment of "illumination" and when he laments how few have truly appreciated its embodiment, he reminds us of his many letters describing the triumphs and trials of his own career. His use of the theological language of types and prophecies to praise Ruskin as that "decipherer" who came "in fulness of time" might also suggest how much of himself he includes in Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Assuredly, Ruskin was the decipherer who came in the manner of John the Baptist to reveal the true meaning of old truths, but he also serves, again much in the manner of the Baptist, to prepare for the culmination of these old truths — in this case Hunt's own painting. It is difficult to determine to what extent he intended such a parallel to be drawn, for when completed it becomes rather outrageous. Nonetheless, since both he and Ruskin believed artists to be inspired prophets at their best, neither would have found the general implications of such a suggestion disturbing.
In his memoir the artist relates how Ruskin, who had lost the religious belief which had originally founded his interpretation, dwelt more "on the arrangement of lines in the design and the technique displayed in the handling, than on the mysteries that he had interpreted five and-twenty years before" (ii. 261). His friend's changed attitudes led to a long discussion of the grounds for religious faith, but first Ruskin, who had not looked over his interpretation for many years, stood before The Annunciation and read it aloud. Hunt quotes the entire passage from the second volume of Modern Painters, adding: "The words brought back to my mind the little bedroom, twenty-two years since, wherein I sat till the early morning reading the same passage with marvel" (ii. 261).
Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood thus clearly testifies to the importance Ruskin's criticism had for the painter's ideas of art, but in a letter he wrote to his friend more than a decade after they met in Venice, the original of which is now in Cornell University, he explained the role it had in his life as well. According to him, before he encountered Ruskin's works he had been "a contemptuous unbeliever in any spiritual principles but the development of talent, and Shelley and Lord Byron with Keats were my best modem heroes — all read by the light of materialism or sensualism". Then, a fellow student who was trying to convert him to Roman Catholicism lent him Modern Painters under the mistaken impression that its author belonged to this faith." It was high time that I got something, and this something thus strangely gained was what first arrested me in my downward course. It was the voice of God. I read this in rapture and it sowed some seed of shame." If the painter's fervent language sounds much like that of an evangelical record of conversion, the resemblance is quite appropriate, for Hunt's words convey precisely the kind of response Ruskin had hoped to awaken in young artists. Three and a half decades after he had written the second volume of Modern Painters, Ruskin thus belatedly learned that Hunt had been a true member of that ideal audience to which he had directed his efforts. Furthermore, as Hunt told him, like any true believer he had converted others to the cause, so that "all that the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood had of Ruskinism came from this reading of mine." Hunt's outpourings in this letter of 1880 reveal the central importance to his life and art of his encounter with Modern Painters, for it not only gave his painting new purpose and method but also led him towards the faith which they required. although this letter speaks only in the most general terms of the inspiration he had received from Ruskin, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood shows that one of the critic's most important influences upon his art came in his explanation of typological symbolism which could unite realism and iconography, form and content, matter and spirit. The letter, which emphasizes how serious, how essential, was the entire Ruskinian message to Hunt at this point in his career, thus makes us realize how like a revelation such a symbolic reading must have seemed to the young artist.
William Holman Hunt, The Awakening Conscience. Tate Gallery, London.
One of the many ironies in the relationship between the two men is that whereas Hunt credited Ruskin with being the source of his conceptions of typology and symbolism, Ruskin, at Patmore's urging, was first moved to defend him as he had defended Turner — on realistic criteria alone. A further irony arises in the fact that Ruskin's defense of Hunt's symbolic pictures, The Awakening Conscience and The Light of the World, in 1854 played a crucial role in his own development as critic and theorist of art. although no student of Ruskin thus far seems to have perceived the fact, the critic's explanation of Hunt's elaborate iconography stimulated him to develop those theories of symbolism which figure so importantly in the last three volumes of Modern Painters. In other words, Hunt first drew his inspiration from Ruskin's explanations of typology, attempting to create his own form of symbolic realism; Ruskin, unaware that he had thus already influenced the artist, then defended his symbolic works and in so doing became increasingly attracted to the kind of art Hunt was attempting to create. I have elswehere told the story of how Ruskin turned from aesthetic theorizing to iconographical analyses of art in the latter portions of Modern Painters. Now I would add that Hunt seems to have provided the major impetus for this shift in emphasis.
William Holman Hunt, The Light of the World. Keble College, Oxford.
Evidence of Ruskin's new attraction to symbolism in art appears in the third volume of Modern Painters, which appeared in 1856, two years after he had written about The Light of the World and The Awakening Conscience. There, in opposition to contemporary attitudes which held that allegory in art and literature was essentially unimaginative, he urged: "The greater and more thoughtful the artists, the more they delight in symbolism, and the more fearlessly they employ it. Dead symbolism, second-hand symbolism, pointless symbolism, are indeed objectionable enough; but so are most other things that are dead, second-hand, and pointless" (5. 135). According to Ruskin, "the simple fact is that allegorical painting has been the delight of the greatest men and of the wisest multitudes. from the beginning of art, and will be till art expires" (5. 134). He therefore sets forth his theory of the symbolical grotesque, which is his name for such modes in visual and verbal arts, and citing Spenser, Dante, and the Bible in literature and Giotto, Dürer, Tintoretto and many others in painting, he predicts that the Pre-Raphaelites will usher in" a new era of art, in a true unison of the grotesque that is, the symbolical with the realistic power" (5. 137).
Earlier in this same volume he had already cited Hunt's The Light of the World as an example of authentic visionary art which combined ancient faith with modem realism. At the same time he urged that" sacred art, so far from being exhausted, has yet to attain the development of its highest branches; and the task, or privilege, yet remains for mankind, to produce an art which shall be at once entirely skilful and entirely sincere. All the histories of the Bible are, in my judgment, yet waiting to be painted.... Religious art, at once complete and sincere, never yet has existed" (5.87). Nonetheless, he asserts that such an art will come into being," and that those bright Turnerian imageries, which the European public declared to be 'dotage,' and those calm Pre-Raphaelite studies, which, in like manner, it pronounced 'puerility,' form the first foundation that has ever been laid for true sacred art" (5.87).
William Holman Hunt, The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple. City Art Gallery, Birmingham (1854-1860).
Another one of the ironies of the Hunt-Ruskin relationship was that by the time the painter was able to complete The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple (1860), which embodied Ruskin's program for a new sacred realism, the critic had lost his religious belief and, for many years, turned away from such issues. Hunt's financial difficulties had forced him to defer completing the work he had begun in Jerusalem during 1854, and by the time he was able to finish it, Ruskin, the one person who should have appreciated it, was no longer interested. Nonetheless, Ruskin did remain concerned with allegory and symbolism; one sign of this continued interest appears in his brilliant interpretations of Turner in Modern Painters, volume V, while another appears in his increasing fascination with mythology, which he discussed as another form of the symbolical grotesque. Equally important, in 1867 he set forth his theory of Constant Art in which allegory provided the basis for a calm, balanced, essentially static mode of painting that avoided what he took to be the characteristic flaws of ../ art — sentimentality, excessive domesticity, shallowness, eccentricity, and a "fatal . . . desire of dramatic excitement" (19. 203) [Follow for a fuller discussion of the role of this essay in Ruskin's career.] In setting forth this theory of art, Ruskin formulates precisely the artistic program which Hunt was concerned to embody in his major works — and yet there is no evidence that the critic was aware of this fact at the time he set down his thoughts, nor is there any evidence that Hunt ever came upon them. In other words, as indebted as both men were to each other, their relationship, both as friends and as theoreticians of art, was marked by a series of failed recognitions and missed opportunities to communicate with each other. Fortunately for both Hunt and Ruskin, just when each most needed the affection and admiration of the other, they were able to meet as intimate friends, and many of the extant letters they wrote to each other come from this late period of their relationship.
Portrait of Lear at age 50 from William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1906.
Hunt's 1880 letter to Ruskin, which stands as one of the most interesting portions of their correspondence, provides us with a glimpse of Ruskin's influence upon Hunt that we would never have guessed had we relied upon his published memoirs or other private correspondence. Indeed, throughout much of the time he knew Ruskin the painter expresses skepticism and outright hostility toward him. For example, in an early letter to Lear which probably dates from 1851-4, he describes him somewhat mockingly as an "Art Warwick" while in another letter to the same artist of about the same period he remarked: "Upon my word this ' puller up and setter down ' takes a responsible position — I have seen him twice with the intention of bullying him but as his wife & mother were present could not get an opportunity" (both Rylands Eng. MS. 1214/11). Part of his hostility, it seems clear, stems from his characteristic suspicion of any theorizing about art by someone not a professional artist, and sometimes this hostility prevented Hunt from recognizing how much he really agreed with Ruskin. For example, he wrote to his friend John L. Tupper on 15 May 1877: "I agree that Ruskin has done much harm to counter balance much good in giving people the trick of talking about Art instead of really doing a little of it to enable them to understand" (Hunt. MS Uncat. LF). although admitting that Ruskin has done much good, Hunt ailed to recognize that the critic also wanted people to learn about art by its practice, and, in fact, devoted much of his time and energies to proselytizing for art education. Nonetheless, Hunt's primary objection to Ruskin was his intellectual arrogance — in other words, that he was too much like himself, that he was too dogmatic, too theoretical, too convinced by his own enthusiasms. As he wrote to his friend Thomas Combe from Jerusalem in May 1872, Ruskin needed a little humility: "You said in a previous letter that Mrs. Combe is beginning to learn something about Art by attending the Ruskin lectures. I wish she would teach me for I find the longer I study and work the less confidence I have in my own knowledge. I think Ruskin might also be benefited by a little instruction on the subject altho' I don't think he has yet got to that point at which philosophers begin to feel they know nothing" (Rylands Eng. MS. 1213129). Not until he became friendly with Ruskin after an interval of many years did he take him on his own terms, recognizing his own important debts to him.
These letters have important value for anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship of these men and their ideas, but the evidence that they provide must be used warily. At several points in the correspondence, one encounters letters, such as that written in 1880, which radically change usual views of their importance to each other, but since these fifty letters are but a small portion of those they wrote, one must assume that contradictory information may surface when new portions of the correspondence appear — as they well may. Part of our difficulty here arises in Hunt's apparently all-embracing sincerity.
The artist wrote an unusually large number of long letters to various correspondents in which he bared his soul, setting forth his religious and artistic beliefs. although Holman Hunt is not a particularly skillful writer, he does manage to achieve the impression that he is necessarily revealing all of himself, and one is often surprised to discover from other letters that he has in fact told but a portion of his views. It is not that he is ever dishonest or disingenuous but that he always seems to be telling everything about a particular subject of interest to him. In other words, his very ability to convince his reader that he is stating the entire truth often convinces us that we know more about him than we actually do.
Another problem one faces when attempting to piece together the story of their friendship from the evidence of letters is that it is sometimes difficult to be certain to which Hunt Ruskin was writing; for he knew — and mentions in letters and diaries — not only William Holman Hunt but also William Henry Hunt and Alfred William Hunt. Furthermore, as Lady Mander has pointed out to me in conversation, the matter is complicated even more by the fact that both Holman Hunt and A. W. Hunt, the landscape painter, lived at the same address (Tor Villa) at one time or another. Since Ruskin frequently simply begins his letters with "Dear Hunt" or "My dear Hunt" and does not include an address, the result is that one frequently encounters libraries, collectors, and (I assume) auction catalogues making false attributions — a fact easily ascertained in the longer letters which mention dates, family, and other precise topics but which is often unclear in the shorter notes. Unfortunately, in attempting to piece together this friendship, one finds that it is just these notes, which are often difficult to date or determine the addressee, which are of significant biographical value. It is important, for example, to have Letters 12, 14, 15, and 16, which demonstrate that Hunt and Ruskin were still seeing each other and on friendly terms after Millais, Hunt's close friend, had married Euphemia Chalmers Gray after the annulment of her marriage to Ruskin.
Fortunately, there is no difficulty either about the eight letters I have located from Hunt to Ruskin or the five the critic wrote to Edith Hunt, the painter's wife. The provenance, content, or adequate addresses of the thirty-six from Ruskin to the artist convince me that they are indeed correctly understood to have been intended for William Holman Hunt. Of the fifty letters assembled, seven of those from Ruskin to Hunt have appeared partially or completely in print before- Letters 7, 29, 31, 33, 44, 48, and — and I have included them for the sake of completeness. In editing these letters below I have foregone the use of footnotes, assuming that the evidence for dating and other matters demanding annotation are best provided in narrative form.
Following the editorial approach of John L. Bradley and Van Akin Burd, I have tried to print the letters in such a way as to remind the reader that they were intended as private communications and not for publication. I have therefore emended the punctuation of both men's letters as little as possible; in general I only add terminal punctuation that is obviously required, and I have only changed capitalization when Hunt begins a sentence in the lower case. Hunt frequently uses American, rather than British, orthography, writing "color," for example, rather than "colour;" and I have changed this spelling to match that in his published works. All other changes such as obviously omitted words, have been supplied in brackets while crossings-out appear restored within oblique brackets.
Thanks to the following people and instiutions
I would like to thank the Ruskin Trustees and Miss Diana Holman-Hunt and Mrs. Elizabeth Burt Tompkin, holders of copyright on the artist's unpublished manuscripts, for kindly permitting me to print these letters. I am of course deeply indebted to the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library Olin Library of Cornell University, the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Ruskin Galleries at Bembridge School, Isle of Wight, and the John Rylands University Library of Manchester for permitting me to inspect and publish manuscript materials in their possession. I am also grateful to Mrs. Mary Warner Marien for pointing out to me the letters at Cornell University.
Last modified 12 June 2007