Fanny Hunt (née Waugh), ca. 1865

by Elliott & Fry, albumen carte-de-visite, mid 1860s

albumen carte de visite of Fanny Hunt (née Waugh) by Elliott & Fry, 1865

Fanny Hunt (née Waugh) (1833-1866), was the first wife of William Holman Hunt; daughter of George Waugh.

In December 1865 William Holman Hunt married Fanny Waugh, the daughter of a prosperous chemist. The following August they left England for the East but a cholera outbreak forced them to settle in Florence. Fanny gave birth to a son, Cyril Benoni Holman Hunt, soon after their arrival, but she never recovered her strength and died eight days short of their first anniversary. Hunt channelled his grief into the life-sized picture of a woman mourning her murdered lover, Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868), from the poem by John Keats.

William Holman Hunt married twice. After a failed engagement to his model Annie Miller, he married Fanny Waugh, who later modelled for the figure of Isabella. When she died in childbirth in Italy he sculpted her tomb at Fiesole, having it brought down to the English Cemetery, beside the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His second wife, Edith, was Fanny’s sister. At this time it was illegal in Britain to marry one’s deceased wife’s sister, so Hunt was forced to travel abroad to marry her. This led to a serious breach with other family members, notably his former Pre-Raphaelite colleague Thomas Woolner, who had once been in love with Fanny and had married Alice, the third sister of Fanny and Edith.


This small photo might be from the same sitting as the bigger one, as she seems to be wearing the same drawstring dress and brooch. This photo was taken in December 1865 shortly before her marriage. Surely these photos are the inspiration for Fanny’s posthumous portrait by her husband William Holman Hunt (see my other post here) as well as the drawing below:

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After Fanny’s death the same cameo brooch was worn by her sister Edith. It was given to her by Fanny’s mourning husband as a gift for her 21st birthday. He painted Edith in 1868 (see my other post here) wearing the same brooch. Several years later he married Edith with whom he had two daughters.

William Holman Hunt & Cyril Benoni Holman Hunt by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), 24 July 1872

Cyril as a young man:

by Kingsbury & Notcutt, albumen carte-de-visite, circa 1887
Cyril Benoni Holman Hunt by Kingsbury & Notcutt, circa 1887

source: National Portrait Gallery, Ashmolean, National Media Museum

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