HOLMAN-HUNT, William, O.M. (1827-1910)
Plaque erected in 1923 by London County Council at 18 Melbury Road, Holland Park, London, W14 8LT, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
WILLIAM HOLMAN-HUNT O.M. (1827-1910) Painter Lived and died here
There is also an English Heritage plaque to Cetshwayo at the same address.
William Holman Hunt was a 19th-century painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Lady of Shalott – his final and best-known work – was completed while he was living at 18 Melbury Road in Holland Park, Kensington.
Born in the City of London, Holman Hunt met and befriended John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the 1840s, and was part of the group that founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The works for which is he is best remembered – many of them inspired by his frequent visits to Jerusalem – include The Light of the World (1851–3), which has been described as ‘arguably the most famous religious image of the nineteenth century’, The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple (1854–60), and The Scapegoat (1854–5). Holman Hunt’s artistic output ended with his completion of The Lady of Shalott (c. 1888–1905), by which time he was suffering from glaucoma.
Number 18 Melbury Road is a tall semi-detached house dated 1877, and lies in the lower part of this artists’ thoroughfare. Holman Hunt had long been a resident of Holland Park and nearby Fulham by the time he moved to Melbury Road in 1903. Here, he dedicated himself to literary activities, working on his memoirs, and producing Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1905, an account intended to propagate the principles of the group he had helped to found. In the same year, he was awarded the Order of Merit.
Holman Hunt died at number 18, and the house was still occupied by his widow, Edith, née Waugh (1846−1931), when the plaque was installed in 1923. In 2006, his plaque was joined by that to Zulu king Cetshwayo, who stayed in the house in the summer of 1882.