Arthur Hughes was born in London and studied to become a painter at the Royal Academy Schools. There he met Rossetti, Millais and Holman Hunt, and joined them in making the mural decoration of the Oxford Union. Hughes remained under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, and many of his paintings follow, more or less closely, the themes produced by members of the Brotherhood.
Among his most well-known works can be listed Home from Sea (1863), showing a returned sailor boy weeping over a parental grave while his sister looks on, The Eve of St Agnes (1856) and a rather charming Annunciation (1858). He produced a series of pictures of lovers, making a feature of clinging ivy on old trees, and he is definitely one of the more out of doors Pre-Raphaelites.
As well as being a painter, Hughes became one of the more successful Pre-Raphaelite illustrators, drawing many pictures for the illustrated magazines and books of the 1860s and onwards. Several later illustrators followed his style for nursery and fairy tale books, among them Helen Stratton. The picture below is taken from At the Back of the North Wind of 1870.
Hughes's nephew, E. R. Hughes, also became a painter.
Hughes's paintings The Annunciation, The Nativity and The Long Engagement are all at Birmingham, and April Love, The Eve of St Agnes and The Woodsman's Child are at the Tate. Home From Sea is at the Ashmolean, and As You Like It and Sir Galahad are in Manchester. His relatively large Little One who straight has come down the Heavenly Stairs is at the Russell-Cotes Museum. The Guarded Bower is at Bristol.
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