The Afterglow

William Holman Hunt


Oil on canvas, arched top,

73 x 34 inches

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The larger version at Southampton differs considerably: instead of the calf, the girl is surrounded by birds, and instead of bearing a bird cage on her head she has a wheatsheaf. The girl’s blouse, which is simpler, matches the fabric on the rest of her dress, and the cow and farmer are missing.

ArtUK explains, “Financed by the sale of his paintings, Holman Hunt left England on 13 January 1854, hoping to rediscover the biblical lands in Egypt and Palestine. He wrote to Combe in 1854 that he had begun a life-sized study of an Egyptian girl, but that the trials of heat and dust and the difficulty of persuading the model to pose, caused him to abandon the painting. He returned to it back in England in 1861 (Southampton Art Gallery) and at the same time painted this smaller version.”

Click on image to enlarge it

  • Discussion
  • Version in the Southampton Art Gallery