Arthur Ackland Hunt, Artist

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Family Matters

Arthur Ackland Hunt was born 12 May 1841 at Herne Bay, Kent(1), the eighth known child of of Dr Thomas Hunt and Martha Mary Colam. We have wondered why his parents gave him his middle name, but believe that his Will provides us with a clue to this, as he evidently possessed a “silver snuff box with ‘T.G.Ackland’ engraved thereon” which had been given to him by Rev T G Ackland as a christening present(2). From this evidence we deduce that Rev Ackland was probably a good friend of Arthur’s parents, or maybe he was a relation.

One of the frustrating aspects of family history research is the lack of information available about the childhood of most of the people we are researching, and Arthur is typical of this. As his father was an eminent doctor, living in the Bloomsbury area of London, we may surmise that Arthur enjoyed a comfortable childhood.

The 1861 census records Arthur at the age of twenty, living with his parents in the family home at 23, Alfred Place, London. His occupation was recorded as “Artist”(3). We do not know where he learned the skills of his profession, but his teacher certainly did a most accomplished job, as Hunt was to enjoy a long and prosperous career as a member of the Royal Academy (see Career below).

The available evidence suggests that Arthur lived with his parents and siblings until he was married at the age of 38, as he was enumerated in their London household in the census of 1871(4).

In July 1879 the banns of Marriage between Arthur Ackland Hunt and Emma Sarah Blagg were published. The ceremony took place at the parish church at Cheadle, in Staffordshire, on Saturday 24 July 1879(5). Emma was a native of Cheadle, having been born there(6), and was the daughter of John Michael Blagg, a solicitor. The witnesses to the wedding were both members of the Blagg family.

Given the prosperity of the parents of both bride and groom, it is not surprising to learn that the wedding was a very fine occasion. The following is a newspaper report of the wedding, which appeared on the front page of The Cheadle Herald & General Advertiser on Saturday July 26 1879(7):

Marriage of Miss Blagg, of Cheadle
Had any of our occasional visitors been in Cheadle on Thursday morning last, they would have been agreeably surprised at the principal thoroughfares presenting such a gay and lively appearance, and would doubtless put on their studying-caps to know the why and wherefore of such proceedings. Although, perhaps, not known to outsiders it was well known and understood by our townspeople, both old and young, what was about to take place. Flags were hoisted from most of the houses and garlands bearing suitable mottoes were displayed in abundance. A very large number of people had assembled in the Parish Church to witness the marriage of Miss Emma, fourth daughter of the late and much respected Mr John Michael Blagg, to Mr Arthur Ackland Hunt, of London. Considerable trouble had been taken in decorating the church with flowers and evergreens; the altar in particular presented a very beautiful appearance. The bride entered the church leaning on the arm of her brother, Mr Charles John Blagg, attired in ivory satin. The four bridesmaids were Miss Margaret Blagg (step-sister to the bride), Miss Hunt (sister to the bridegroom), and the misses M & S Blagg (nieces of the bride). The Rev C B Ward (brother-in-law of the bride), assisted by the Rev R Watt, conducted the service. During the proceedings an anthem suitable to the occasion was sung by the choir, Mr J Lowndes ably officiating at the organ. At the conclusion of the marriage ceremony Mendelsohn’s “Wedding March” was played with great effect by Mr Lowndes, and as the bridal party left the Church a number of little maidens, with gaily ornamented baskets, strewed flowers down the path to the gates where the carriages were waiting. The bells of the Parish Church, and also of St Giles’ Catholic Church, rang out in merry peals, which were continued with little intermission until evening. The wedding breakfast took place at the residence of Mr C J Blagg, Greenhill, and was of a most sumptuous description. The wedding presents were numerous and costly, and excited great admiration from the many who had the privilege of viewing them. The happy pair, amidst a shower of rice and satin slippers, left about half-past-two on a tour of the Lakes in Cumberland. The wedding party were successfully photographed by Mr Lowndes at Greenhill. The loss of the bride in this town and neighbourhood will be very great, as her deeds of charity have been countless, and her winning, gentle manner, had endeared her to all with whom she came in contact. Never, perhaps, since the marriage of her brother-in-law, the present Bishop of Trinidad, has our Parish Church been so crowded and so much enthusiasm and goodwill manifested. Many and earnest are the hopes that there is a long career of happiness and usefulness in store for her, and we doubt not but that in her new sphere as Mrs Hunt she will become as deservedly respected and beloved as she has undoubtedly been with us as Miss Blagg.

Arthur Ackland Hunt

Arthur Ackland Hunt

Emma Sarah (Blagg) Hunt

Emma Sarah (Blagg) Hunt

These photographs of Arthur Ackland Hunt and
Emma Sarah Blagg Hunt are reproduced by
kind permission of Richard Bradley.

One can easily visualise the scene at this event, with with copious quantities of good food on the table and the participants and guests finely turned out. We do not know for certain how many members of the Hunt family attended, but it seems reasonable to assume that many of them made the journey from London to the north midlands, presumably by steam train.



The Cheadle Community Website (8) includes a photograph of Greenhill House, which was situated on the road out of Cheadle towards Leek, and was the home of Charles J Blagg. This was the house referred to in the above report as the scene of the wedding breakfast of Arthur and Emma. Alas, Greenhills was demolished in the early years of the twentieth century, but I reproduce this picture here (left), to show what a magnificent house it was. One can readily imagine the scene on the big day, with carriages sweeping up the drive, conveying the principal players and their guests to the house.

The above newspaper report refers to the respect with which the Blagg family were regarded in Cheadle. We have done some research into this family, who were certainly very prosperous. Emma’s father was a solicitor, who was listed in a local directory as long ago as 1850 as:

“Blagg John Michael, solicitor, clerk to the magistrates, commissioner for taking acknowledgements of married women & agent to the Royal Exchange Fire & Life Assurance Society, Church gates.(9)”

He had died only fifteen months before his daughter entered the Hunt family (10). His parents had been John Blagg and his wife Elizabeth (nee Brodhurst) (11). As far as we know Emma had five siblings, and they continued the family tradition of life in the professions. One of her brothers was a clergyman (12), whilst another was a solicitor, whose listing in the local directory of 1896 reveals his many roles in the Cheadle community (13).

“Blagg Charles John (firm, Blagg sons & Masefield) solicitor, clerk to the magistrates & commissioner for taxes, and registrar of county court.”

A separate entry in the same directory reveals that Charles J Blagg was also High Bailiff to the county court. (14)

One of Emma’s nieces – Mary Adela Blagg (1858-1944) – was a renowned astronomer, whose fame was marked by the naming of a crater on the moon after her! You can read about Mary on a number of websites, including Wikipedia.

The census returns show that Arthur Ackland Hunt and his bride were living at Kidbrooke by 1881. The returns of that year record that the family home of Arthur and Emma was Lynton Villa, Kidbrooke, Blackheath, Kent(15). Kidbrooke lies within a few miles of central London, and had been a mainly farming community until 1825, when a number of homes for people of the middle class were built in the area near Blackheath and Shooters Hill Road (16). Arthur’s home was in this area, and was near to the grand Morden College, built in the late seventeenth century(17). Apart from Arthur, living in his household was his wife, their four month old daughter, and three female servants – a housemaid, a cook and a nurse. All the servants were aged 25 or under, and came from Staffordshire, near his wife’s birthplace. Arthur Ackland Hunt apparently wanted the authorities to be in no doubt as to the range of his activities, as he supplied the enumerator with the following description of his occupation:

“Artist – Painter in oil …les colors: portrait figures, landscapes, and instructor in freehand drawings in the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, Civil Service appointment Admiralty.”

It is evident that this was a very stable household. The family was in the same house in 1891, which was enumerated as 10 Kidbrooke Grove(18), and was still living at that address in April 1913(19). The presence of Arthur’s sister – Emily Theresa Hunt – in the household in 1891, 1901(20) and 1911(21) points to the strength of kinship network in the Hunt family. Emily was also a beneficiary in Arthur’s Will, written in 1913 (22).

In 1891 Emily was present at the Hunt home in Kidbrooke, with Cecil. However, on this occasion Arthur was missing. He was enumerated with his wife and daughter as visitors in the Glossop, Derbyshire, home of their brother in law – Charles Ward, Vicar of Glossop – and his wife, Emma’s sister Hannah nee Blagg (23) .

Evidence of the prosperity of the family can be seen in the fact that two domestic servants were present in the Kidbrooke household on all the census during the period 1881 to 1901.

Emma Hunt died in 1896 (24), so the 1901 census shows Arthur as a widower(25). Arthur lived on as a Widower until 19 Apr 1914 when he died(25). His Will was proved in the National Probate Registry on 24 July 1914. Click here to see a brief summary of the main points of this document.

Census Returns

We have traced Arthur Ackland Hunt in all the available census returns. The earlier entries record him some as a single man in the household of his parents, and later we see his household after his marriage.

1851(26). 26 Bedford Square, St Giles in the Fields

Arthur was recorded in the household of his parents at the age of 9, described as a ‘Scholar at home’, born Herne Bay, Kent. Also present in the household were nine siblings.

The household also included a Cook, a Housemaid, and a Page, the presence of whom makes it clear that the family enjoyed a comfortable life style (see Thomas Hunt, Doctor)

1861(27). 23 Albert Place, St Giles in the Fields

Albert Place was situated off Bedford Square.

Arthur’s mother died in January 1861, and in this census his father was recorded as a widower. Arthur was aged 19 and his occupation was “Artist”. The household no longer included a Page, but still employed two domestic servants.

Louisa Hunt, Arthur’s eldest sister, had married and left the household by this date, but his next three eldest sisters were present. As in 1851, none of them had to work for their living.

Thomas Hunt, the eldest sibling of Arthur, was not enumerated in this entry. However, the 1861 Medical Directory records him as living at this address. This source informs us that Thomas had qualified to become a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons two years previously.

1871(28). 21 Dorset Square, Marylebone

This was the last census on which the household of Arthur’s father can be found, as he died eight years later. By this time Arthur was 29. Arthur’s father had been married for a second time for almost seven years, and Caroline Hunt was enumerated as Arthur’s stepmother. Domestic servants were still in evidence, as the household included two housemaids and one cook.

Of the Hunt children, five were still listed on the census of 1871, seemingly resident in their father’s household. These children were aged 29 years or more, and one cannot avoid the conclusion that they were reluctant to leave ‘the nest’ of their parents. The boys were every bit as loath to leave as the girls. Apart from Arthur, John was aged 36 and a Merchant Clerk. Edward, aged 18, had set out on a career as a Chemist.

1881(29). Lynton Villa, 10 Kidbrook Grove, Kidbrooke, Kent

Arthur had been married for almost two years at the time of this record, and was enumerated with his wife, daughter, and three female servants – a housemaid, a cook and a nurse. All servants were aged 25 or under, and came from Staffordshire, near his wife’s birthplace. Arthur Ackland Hunt supplied the enumerator with the following description of his occupation: –
“Artist – Painter in oil …les colors: portrait figures, landscapes, and instructor in freehand drawings in the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, Civil Service appointment Admiralty.”

1891(30). 10 Kidbrook Grove, Kidbrook, London

As mentioned above, Arthur his wife and daughter were away from home, visiting relations, on 5 April 1891.The only two family members recorded in his home were his son Cecil (aged 8) and his sister – Emily Teresa, who was aged 43, unmarried, and a Governess. There were also two domestic servants in the household, one of whom had been born at Cheadle, the birthplace of Arthur’s wife.

1901 (31). 10 Kidbrooke Grove, Kidbrooke, London

By this time Arthur was a widower, and was aged 59. His two children – Amy Winifred (aged 20) and Cecil Ackland (aged 18) were both in the household, and his sister – Emily Teresa – was also still present. As in previous census returns, there were two domestic servants in the household.

1911 (32). 10 Kidbrooke Grove, Kidbrooke, London

Arthur was again enumerated as a widower, with his sister – Emily Teresa – and his two children. The household again included two female domestic servants. In this record we are given some extra information about the house, as the number of rooms were stated. This was quite a large house, with ten rooms.


Apart from census entries, the information we hold concerning Arthur’s career comes from various dictionaries of artists and art listings, and Kelly’s Directory for Kent, Surrey & Sussex, 1891 (Part 1 Kent).

Page 315 of the above directory confirms Hunt’s role with the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He was included in a list of “Professorial Staff” as follows:

“Freehand Drawing

Instructor, A Ackland Hunt esq. ”

The same directory (page 71) includes Arthur A Hunt under his home address:

“Hunt Arthur A. artist 10 Kidbrooke grove”

In 1995 we wrote to the Royal College of Art in London, asking whether they had any information about Arthur. In reply they wrote to us as follows(33):

“Arthur Ackland Hunt was a painter who specialised in group scenes and landscapes. He was a member of the Royal Academy from 1865 to 1902 and also had pictures exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In 1914 his correspondence address was Art Club Studios, Bennet Park, Blackheath.”

The Dictionary of British Artists, 1880-1940(34) contains the following reference:

HUNT, ARTHUR ACKLAND. Exhibited 1881-1913. Figure & Domestic Painter, London. Exhibits at:
Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham (2).
Dudley Gallery & New Dudley Gallery (9).
Manchester City Art Gallery (2)
Royal Academy (6).
Royal Society of Painter-etchers & Engravers (1).
Royal Hibernian Academy (9).
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (6).

There seems to be some disparity between the information obtained from these two sources. The Royal College of Art does not mention Arthur’s work as a Figure and Domestic painter, whilst Johnson et al do not mention his landscape and group scenes work. In fact, Arthur’s description of his occupation as recorded by the census enumerator in 1881 (see above) makes it clear that he was active in all these fields, plus one other – his work for the Admiralty as an instructor in drawing at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

We have compiled a list of art exhibitions at which Arthur exhibited between 1861 & 1878(35). These included exhibits at the following organizations’ events:

  • Royal Society of British Artists (22)
  • The British Institution (4)
  • The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (7).

This list includes several different addresses for Arthur at various times. In some cases these may be residential addresses, but they could also be studio addresses. Reference to directories may enable us to clarify this. It appears that he was practising his profession at several separate fashionable locations – presumably studio addresses:

  • 22 Charles Street, Berners Street, London – he was recorded at this address in the years 1866 and 1873
  • 2 Percy Street, Bedford Square, London – he was recorded at this address in the years 1868 and 1878
  • 55 Berners Street, London, W. – he was recorded at this address in the years 1867
  • 219 Maida Vale, London – he was recorded at this address in 1868

This list also includes the prices of the pictures exhibited by Hunt. There was a wide divergence in these, the lowest priced being 4 guineas, and the highest priced being £90. We assume that, in large measure, the prices reflected the size of the pictures.

We close this section with a list of exhibits by Arthur Ackland Hunt at the Royal Academy, 1865-1902(36):

HUNT, Arthur Ackland Painter 2 Percy Street, Bedford Square



1865 36 An Old Salt
484 Chums at Work
1866 388 T Heckstall Smith Esq., FRCS
1867 684 Home at Last. “It is – Oh, good heavens! It is Eric! Cried Mrs Trevor as she flew towards him.”
22 Chartres St., Berners Street
1868 61 Dr Richardson, FRS. President of the Medical Society of London, etc
1869 48 Hormuzd Rassam, Esq. FRGS.
1870 654 Jock and his Mistress (portrait).
1871 112 Mrs Hecktall Smith
752 Library at the Firs, Lee.
1872 707 The Library, Green Hedges, East Grinstead.
778 H H Hassan Pasha
1873 497 The Rev Alfred Barry, DD.
55, Berners Street
1874 330 Edith Hecktall Smith
1894 1113 The Gouliot Cliffs, Sark
1897 1163 Brechon Cliffs, Sark
1899 837 “I cannot mind my wheel, mother!”
1900 711 When the Heart is Young.
1902 659 Holiday Fishing

Children of Arthur Ackland Hunt and Emma Sarah Blagg

The daughter mentioned above was Amy Winifred Hunt, who was Arthur & Emma’s first child, born at Kidbrooke in 1880(37). As far as we know, they only had one other child – Cecil Ackland Hunt, who was born at at Kidbrooke in 1883(38). Both these children were mentioned in the Arthur’s Will.

On 2 August 1911 Amy’s married Rev William Starkie Shuttleworth, in the beautiful setting of the Lady Chapel at Salisbury Cathedral (39). Her groom was a widower, some forty years her senior. He had been born in Liverpool, the son of William Shuttleworth, a solicitor of that city, and his spouse – Harriet Statham(40). The Cambridge educated William Starkie Shuttleworth enjoyed a long career in the Church of England, serving in ministries as far afield as India and Hampshire. By 1911 his first wife – Elizabeth Katherine W Heale had been dead for some six years, and he was employed by the Church in Salisbury as a Diocesan Licensed Preacher(41).

Sadly, the marriage between William Starkie Shuttleworth and Amy Hunt was so be of short duration. William died at their Salisbury home on 1 January 1918(42).

According to information posted on to an internet website, William may well be descended from Henry de Shuttleworth of Shuttleworth Hall, Lancashire, who was born circa 1300 (43). For the forseeable future, it seems unlikely that we shall be looking into this area of research, but I mention it here for the possible benefit of any interested person who may read this.

After the death of her spouse Amy never remarried. She appears to have lived on at Salisbury, Wiltshire, and when her brother died, in 1959, she acted as his executor(44). She died in Salisbury on 11 January 1966, and administration of her estate was carried out by her daughter – Winifred Emma Shuttleworth (1912-1998)(45).

As for Cecil Ackland Hunt, we understand from Hunt family sources that he married and had two children – both daughters. Although he was an active artist he was not blessed with the sort of talent that his father enjoyed. He lived for much of his life in the Salisbury area, dying in that town on 22 April 1959(46).

G Culshaw.

G M Culshaw December 2005
Updated December 2007 & December 2010

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  • This page was last updated on Saturday July 2nd, 2011.