Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Arthur Hughes’s April Love

Aprii Love, Arthur Hughes, Pre-Raphaelite painter
April Love, Arthur Hughes

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikipedia; original is in the Tate, Britain, with a detailed description here.

Hughes’s best known work, and one of the most popular Pre-Raphaelite paintings in general, this visual poem to the fleeting nature of young love was first exhibited accompanied by an excerpt from Alfred Tennyson’s poem, “The Miller’s Daughter”:

Love is hurt with jar and fret,
Love is made a vague regret,
Eyes with idle tears are set,
Idle habit links us yet;
What is Love? For we forget.
Ah no, no.

Hughes has placed the young man in deep shadow, his face pressed against the young woman’s hand. She has turned away from him, shedding a tear, her eyes downcast toward a broken blossom and fallen petals.

The painting was not, as in the case of many Pre-Raphaelite paintings associated with literary works, meant to coincide with the poem; the verse merely continues the theme of the painting’s emotional tone and incorporated symbolism.

The intricate detail of the ivy is a prime example of the fidelity to nature so admired by the Pre-Raphaelite painters and their circle.

There is a pencil and wash sketch for the painting in the Tate’s collection.

The model for the young woman was Tryphena Foord, who Hughes married around the time this was painted.


5 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Arthur Hughes’s April Love

  1. Ah … One of my favourite Preraphaelite paintings. I was just thinking about this work the other day. And here it is! Charley, how did you know!

    1. Thanks, Steven. Glad to be timely with my posts!

  2. Charley, one correction: The model’s name is Tryphena Foord.

    1. Thanks, DS. Corrected.

  3. I’m a huge fan of the red-orange colour of the hair, it compliments the green of the leaves really well. Everything from the brown wood of the trees to the purple colours of the dress works amazingly. Gorgeous and terrific work!