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A special technique was essential for Hunt’s fruit pieces and bird’s nests, which became greatly esteemed by collectors. He devised a new process which involved mixing gum with Chinese white and laying this as a hard priming on which he would then paint or stipple in pure watercolour. This enabled him to obtain the much admired ‘bloom’ on peaches, plums and grapes

This technical invention shows how close a link was forged between Hunt and later Victorian artists such as JF Lewis and the Pre-Raphaelites, with their insistence on detail and almost obsessively high degree of finish.

August 2004