Edward Robert Hughes: A Pre-Raphaelite Centenary
April 2014 marks the centenary of the artist Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914), who painted perhaps the most popular watercolour in our collection: Night with her Train of Stars (1912).
Hughes was a close associate of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was the nephew of the painter Arthur Hughes, modelled for Rossetti, and worked for many years as the studio assistant of William Holman Hunt. However, although Hughes also made a successful career as an artist in his own right, he is still little known.
At Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, research over the past 7 years has been uncovering new information about Hughes’s life and career and tracing paintings, drawings and watercolours by him in public and private collections in the UK and overseas. We’re now planning a major exhibition of his work – the first in the 100 years since his death – which will open at BMAG in October 2015.
Hughes died suddenly on 23 April 1914 in St Albans and is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery. His funeral in St Albans Cathedral was the largest ever held there, attended by his many friends, fellow artists, and pupils from his life-drawing class in London.
The 100th anniversary of Hughes’s death, 23 April 2014, was marked with a special lecture in St Albans Town Hall followed by an evening reception in his honour – a very happy occasion.
A special display celebrating Hughes’s life and work can be seen in the North Transept of St Albans Cathedral until Tuesday 6 May.
Curator (Fine Art)