The pre-Raphaelite artist and book illustrator, Arthur Hughes was born in London and educated at the Archbishop Tenison's Grammar School before attending the School of Design at Somerset House. Alfred Stevens was his tutor there and in 1847 he entered the Royal Academy Schools.

Winning the RA Silver Medal for Antique Drawing in 1849, he exhibited Musidora, his first picture at the Academy. His involvement with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was underway through his already developed interest in their work, and proceeded to exhibit his famed Ophelia in 1852. He was a model for Millais, and painted in Rossetti's studio. From 1855 his work as an illustrator became his driving force and in time this was to be his main claim to fame as an artist. He was to illustrate such classics as Tom Brown's School Days (1869) and the poetry of Christina Rossetti.

He married Tryphena Foord in 1855 and the couple had five children, three daughters and two sons. He continued to exhibit paintings regularly at the RA, exhibiting his last in 1908.  A full profile of his work would be difficult to bring together due to  prolific output, for which he undoubtedly deserved greater acknowledgement and admiration than he received.  He was granted a Civil Pension three years prior to his death in 1915 at Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

Of special interest to Cornish students was the fact of his annual holidays which he and his wife spent in Cornwall, and the retrospective exhibition held in his lifetime (1900) at the Fine Art Society: Byways of Cornwall.

The information provided in this brief summary was brought to our attention by the art historian Geoff Hassell, when he discovered a recent internet article by William E Fredeman, Associate Professor of English, University of British Columbia (referenced below).  Many thanks!



Painter, illustrator

works and access

Tate Gallery:  April Love; The Eve of St Agnes

Ashmolean: Home from the Sea; The Eve of St Agnes (on panels)

City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham:  The Long Engagement; The Nativity

Manchester:  Ophelia

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool: As You Like It!


RA: 1856-1908

American Exhibition of British Art (1857)

1900 Fine Art Society: Byways of Cornwall

1904 Rembrandt Gallery

1916 Walker's Gallery (posthumous):  The Memorial Exhibition of Some of the Works of the Late Arthur Hughes, October 1916.



misc further info

An offprint of this article by Fredeman, is filed in the artist's folder. WCAA


'A Pre-Raphaelite Gazette: The Penkill Letters of Arthur Hughes to William Bell Scott and Alice Boyd, 1886-97' by William E. Fredeman, MA, PhD.

L Roberts (1997) Arthur Hughes, His life and works, Antique Collectors Club