interior of barn with woman wearing pink dress and hat leaning in on L

Interior of a Barn, c. 1837

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This highly finished watercolor, one of William Henry Hunt’s largest, is technically astounding. At the International Exhibition of 1862 in London, it was an attraction that, according to one critic, “astonished our foreign visitors.”

The setting is a barn owned by Hunt’s father-in-law, a farmer and miller, in Hampshire, England. Hunt achieved a jewellike texture and brilliant luminosity through his complicated technique of stippling transparent colors over a ground of opaque white gouache. This effect is particularly evident in the golden straw and two grain sacks. Also noteworthy is the range of browns discernible in the shadows of the barn.

Interior of a Barn
Artist Life
Accession Number
Mr. Griffith (until 1859). John Mayor Threlfall, Manchester (by 1862-d. 1864; his sale, Christie's, London, May 13, 1864, no. 66, for £220.10 to Agnew); [Agnew, London, from 1864]. Dr. Sharpe (until 1873). Holbrook Gaskell, Woolton, Lancashire (by 1877-d. 1909; his sale, Christie's, London, June 24-25, 1909, no. 205, for 50 gns. to Agnew for F. Gaskell); Frank Gaskell, Codsall Wood, Staffordshire (1909-d. 1937); his sons, Ernest and Roger Gaskell, Codsall Wood, Staffordshire (1937-at least 1951); Joan Stuart (Mrs. Ernest) Gaskell (before 1997; her estate sale, Sotheby's, London, April 10, 1997, no. 113); [Spink-Leger Pictures, London, 1997-98]; sold to MIA, 1998.
Curator Approved

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interior of barn with woman wearing pink dress and hat leaning in on L