'Mr. Holman Hunt's "Shadow of Death"' (2 December 1873), 4. One should note that the exhibition pamphlet, Mr. Holman Hunt's Picture, "The Shadow of Death" (London [1873]), quotes this entire review in the eight pages it devotes to "Opinions of the Press." This fact suggests that Hunt's exhibition pamphlets first appeared in the form of descriptive and explanatory essays, with the anthology of reviews being added later. What such procedure implies, of course, is that the presence of a particular critical notice in the appendix to one of these exhibition pamphlets does not necessarily mean that the critic arrived at his interpretation before reading the pamphlet, for the apparent existence of several states of each pamphlet means we have no way of knowing if the critic had read an earlier version which influenced his review.

One must also point out that this exhibition pamphlet, unlike the later one for The Triumph of the Innocents, is not signed by Hunt himself, and yet we can still take its interpretations, and even specific phrasings, as those of the artist; the style seems to be his, and the fact that the essay refers to him in the third person is not unusual, for he frequently did so in catalogue entries he wrote for galleries or museums.


Main Overview Victorian Web Table of Contents Victorian painting  W H Hunt

Last modified December 2001