Approach to Jaffa. William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). 1854. Black chalk and gouache on prepared paper. 69 x 224 mm (2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches). Signed lower left: "Jaffa May 1854." Provenance: bought at Reeman Dansie auction house, 22nd June 2011. Exhibited: "William Holman Hunt" Liverpool 1969, no. 149. English Romantic Art 1840-1920: Pre-Raphaelites, Academics & Symbolists, Shepherd Gallery in association with Julian Hartnoll, the Maas Gallery Ltd., Piccadilly Gallery and Christopher Wood, at Shepherd & Derom Galleries, 58 East 79th Street, New York, 2 December 1998−5 January 1999; Fine Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia, 2−7 March 2004. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

In May 1854, whilst in the Middle East, Holman Hunt and fellow painter Thomas Seddon travelled to Jaffa in Syria, on a commercial smack. They arrived in the early morning of May 30th. Holman Hunt was vividly aware of the biblical and classical significance of the area, and noted that "In my eyes it was full of pleasing and even enchanting character, such as is ever calculated to make men put on record for succeeding generations the impressions made upon them. We employed a day or so searching about Jaffa, and I made a few sketches" (Hunt 398). The present work is most likely one of the sketches referred to here; though, it might conceivably have been done on May 29th, when Holman Hunt and others briefly set ashore before arriving at Jaffa. (In his book, however, he does not mention doing any sketches at that time.)

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Bronkhurst, J. William Holman Hunt. A Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 2. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006. p. 215, no. L 40.

Crowther, Paul. Awakening Beauty: The Crowther-Oblak Collection of Victorian Art. Exhibition catalogue. Ljubljana: National Gallery of Slovenia; Galway: Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, 2014. No. 61.

Hunt, William Holman. Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan and Co., 1905.

Last modified 11 December 2014