The Lantern Maker's Courtship

William Holman Hunt, 1827 - 1910

The Lantern Maker's Courtship

William Holman Hunt 1827 - 1910


An exotic Orientalist street scene, with a young lantern-maker in a long red coat and green turban, on the left, seated on a bench outside a workshop. Beside him stands a young woman in a long blue gown and gold Turkish slippers, the lower part of her face hidden by a black veil. The lantern maker is shown leaning forward with his hand outstretched, feeling her face beneath the veil. His other hand touches her wrist. Both the young man and the veiled young woman seem happy with the encounter, the woman curling her left foot up inside her slipper, the man smiling. Different types of lantern hang from hooks in the wall behind the lantern-maker, his equipment lies on the bench to one side. Beneath the bench a dog lies curled up asleep. A busy, narrow, street can be seen in the background, with a man in a top hat and a blue jacket, riding a donkey away from the viewer. A servant runs after the donkey and its rider, who raises a whip at an oncoming local, leading a camel laden with goods, the native raising his arm to shield himself. Orange peel and a bulrush lie discarded on the dirt road.

Display Label

Gallery text panel The Pre-Raphaelites in their Time Britain's first and best-known radical art movement emerged from within the Royal Academy in 1848. Its original members were rebellious art students who were disillusioned with contemporary practice. They looked back to Italian art before Raphael, seeing the pre-1500 period as one of great sincerity. They called themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In an age of rapid industrial and urban expansion, Pre-Raphaelite artists like Rossetti, Hunt and Millais, and pioneering design reformers such as William Morris, sought a return to pre-industrial values of art and design in truth to nature and materials, and good workmanship. In addition, the arts of the Middle Ages and Middle East were important sources of stylistic inspiration. The Bible, literature and contemporary life were preferred over subjects derived from classical mythology. The Brotherhood also rejected contrived studio lighting and took canvases outside to paint directly from nature. Although attempting to convey exactly what they saw, they created a heightened reality of dream-like intensity with minute details and bright, dazzling colours. Their art was a new kind of history painting for a new age.

Object Name

The Lantern Maker's Courtship

Creators Name

William Holman Hunt

Date Created



Panel: 29.4cm x 18.8cm
Frame: external: 50.8 x 40.6

accession number


Place of creation





Oil paint


Gift of Mr James Gresham


© Manchester Art Gallery

Fill out my online form.