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William Holman Hunt (1827 - 1910):
London Bridge on the Night of the Marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales

A268; oil on canvas; 65 x 98 cm.

Signed with monogram and dated: 1863.6 Whh.

Bequeathed by Thomas Combe, 1893; WA1894.4.

Parris 1984, no. 124; Brown 1987, no. 41.

Holman Hunt was among the crowd on London Bridge on the night of 10 March 1863, celebrating the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to the future Edward VII. He made sketches of it, but did not complete this painting until 16 May 1864, retouching it in 1866. He was fascinated by the contrasts of natural and artificial light and by the 'Hogarthian humour' of the crowds. He introduced portraits of several friends and acquaintances, including Thomas Combe in a top hat on the extreme left, arm in arm with the artist himself; and Mrs Combe with Millais's father and brother and the artist Robert Braithwaite Martineau. The frame was designed by Hunt to combine emblems appropriate to a wedding and the arms of the royal families of Denmark and England.

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Information derived from the Ashmolean Museum's Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.

Link to the BBC's Your Paintings page of the Public Catalogue Foundation