Catalogue entry

T03321 STUDY FOR THE CHRIST CHILD IN THE VIRGIN'S ARMS FOR 'THE TRIUMPH OF THE INNOCENTS’ 1876

Inscribed in the artist's hand ‘The head of the baby about/the length of the mother's/face’, top right and ? ‘capital’, top left, with an arrow below pointing to the child's head; also inscribed verso, probably in Edith Holman-Hunt's hand, ‘Design preparatory to/Triumph of Innocents/by WHH/1876.’

Black and red chalk on paper, 20 × 14 (50.7 × 35.4)
Purchased (Trustees of the Tate Gallery and Discretionary Funds) 1981
Prov: The artist; by descent to Mrs Elizabeth Burt; sold by her, Sotheby's Belgravia 16 November 1976 (in lot 230, repr.);...; Sotheby's Belgravia 20 October 1981 (6, repr.) bt by the Tate Gallery.
Exh: William Holman Hunt, Liverpool and London 1969 (227).

One of a group of surviving preliminary studies dating from about June 1876 - while the artist was in Palestine - for the central figures in the first version of ‘The Triumph of the Innocents’ (oil on canvas, 62 × 97 1/8, 157.5 × 247.5, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) which occupied Hunt between 1876 and 1887. In the finished picture, although the child's body is still in essentially the same position as that shown in T03321, both arms are outstretched and the left leg is crossed over the right foot. This pose was repeated in the replica of the Liverpool picture completed by Hunt in 1885 and now Tate Gallery N03334. The artist's wife Edith Holman-Hunt was probably the model for the Virgin Mary, but the identity of the child is not known.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984