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The Light of the World

1995/4 pp5–6


The Light Of The World


In Occasional Paper 24, The Pre-Raphaelites in Ewell and a Missing Masterpiece, I said that The Light of the World was now in the Manchester City Art Gallery. One or two members of NAS have asked for clarification regarding the relationship of the Manchester version with the versions known to be at Keble College, Oxford, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The following notes are by the Curator of the Fine Art Department of Manchester City Art Galleries.


‘The original was painted between 1851 and 1853. It was exhibited at the royal Academy in 1854, and is now at Keble College, Oxford. The version here in the City Art Gallery is a smaller version. It began as Hunt’s original oil sketch for the Keble picture and was finished off after the Keble picture was completed. Opinion is divided as to how much of this version was painted by Hunt, but it was signed by him and is documented as so in his book Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood 2 p19. A third, later version, was painted between 1900 and 1904 with the help of an assistant. This is near life size and is now in St. Paul’s Cathedral’.


One would assume that the original oil sketch referred to was painted by Holman Hunt at Ewell as the basis for the paintings done in the studio and, therefore, the Manchester version is the one of most interest in relation to Ewell.


Charles Abdy



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