"The Triumph of the Innocents," Portfolio16 (1885), 81. The sad end of the friendship between Hunt and Stephens is recorded in their correspondence of 1878-80 (Bodleian MS. Don.e68). Stephens had somewhat innocently been the cause of Hunt's great difficulties with The Triumph of the Innocents: accepting the responsibility for shipping the painter's canvas and other supplies to the mid-east, Stephens had unfortunately chosen to repack the various parcels in one large, unwieldy crate whose size long delayed its shipment, and the result was that the despairing Hunt after several months began work on some locally purchased cloth, which was not strong enough for the purpose. The surface repeatedly buckled, and Hunt, who wasted years trying to repair it, felt himself driven close to madness. The letters show that the immediate cause of the final quarrel was Hunt's belief that Stephens had underestimated the seriousness of his difficulties with the picture and that he had failed to come see it when Hunt needed his advice. Having shed the influence of Hunt, Stephens, who had always tended to prefer realism, felt free to state what may well have been some of his long-standing objections to Hunt's symbolic emphases.
Last modified December 2001