Watercolour over traces of pencil heightened with bodycolour and scratching out; signed and dated 'Emily Hunt/1861' and inscribed 'No. 1. Jealous Jessie./Miss Emily Hunt/Tor Villa/Campden Hill/Kensington-W.' on label verso.
10 x 14 inches
Royal Academy, 1862, no 976
Collection of Thomas Combe, Oxford
Thence by descent to his wife Martha Combe, 1872
Martha Combe Executors' Sale, J.R. Mallam and Son, St. Paul's Schools, Oxford, 23 February 1894, lot 99
Purchased from the above sale by John Crossley, nephew of Thomas Combe
Thence by descent to the present owner
Judith Bronkhurst, William Holman Hunt: A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 2006, volume II, p. 96
This Pre-Raphaelite watercolour shows Thomas Combe’s collie dog in Combe’s garden in Oxford. Combe lived at North House in the quadrangle of the Clarendon Press, of which he was Superintendent. He was an important patron of the Pre-Raphaelites, and in particular of William Holman Hunt who loved him like a father. The title and the feather suggest that a violent peacock- related incident has just occurred. In 1857 Emily moved in with her brother William Holman Hunt at 1 Tor Villa, Kensington, so that he could teach her to draw. Mentoring her work took up a good deal of his time, and on 11 May 1862 he complained to Thomas Combe: ‘When I get up from my own work to rest my eyes for a minute or two, I find my sister’s work so backward that I have to labour at that till it’s time to leave off’. At that date, Jealous Jessie was on view at the Royal Academy as entirely the work of Emily Hunt. However, as Judith Bronkhurst has suggested, the handling of the dog’s face is much more detailed and assured than the rest of the sheet; the treatment of the eye and the way in which the shadows round it are delineated are entirely characteristic of William Holman Hunt’s practice. He may also have suggested the unusual composition.