Walter S. Hunt
English Artist - 1861-1941
Walter S.Hunt is famous for painting one of the most beloved images of the Victorian era, "Found by a Friend." The dog in the painting was labeled a "collie" by most people but actually depicts an English Shepherd, a breed of British shepherd dog that predates the rough collie by many generations. (www.englishshepherd.org).
Not very much is known about the life of Walter S. Hunt. We do know he never married and lived in the same house as had his parents in the Wandsworth section of London at #6 Granville Rd. from age 18 until his death in 1941.
He came from an artistic family; his father Charles Hunt and his brothers Reuben, Claude and Edgar were all painters as was his cousin Harry Brooker.
Walter and his brother Claude (who also never married) both appear to have lived at #6 Granville Rd as it was the address in their wills. Their widowed neice, Florence (child of their sister Gertrude) along with her son Reginald, moved in with the brothers after her husband's death. Records show that Reginald was remembered in Walter's will and received a small bequest.
Walter's work consisted mainly of paintings of pastoral settings which included many shepherd dogs. His most famous painting, commonly called "Found by a Friend" depicts a shepherd dog rescuing a lamb in a snowstorm.
This popular image was reproduced by the thousands in the early 20th c as litho prints and on calendars and graced the walls of many farms and ranches in the US (including my own grandmother's kitchen). It is shown below in the version many believe was his original painting though another image almost exactly like it was also reproduced and remains popular today, available on ebay and at print selling websites.
Below are two reproductions of Hunt's famous painting. It is believed by many that the one on the left is the original Hunt painting and the one of the right was recolored by someone who was reproducing the work. It is also the one most often seen in prints available today on ebay and from other art reproduction companies (See links page for links to online sellers of these and other Hunt prints.)
As you can see the two dogs are slightly different color and if you look closely you can also see that the heads of the dogs are turned differently. In the painting on the left only one ear can be seen, whereas in the painting on the right both ears are visible. There are also several differences in the lamb, the landscape and the texture of the work.
The painting has significant meaning to many people and was the inspiration for the logo for the English Shepherd Club in the USA.
Sadly, we do not know the whereabouts of the original painting though it is believed to be in a private collection.
Below are two more fairly popular Hunt paintings depicting shepherd dogs. The one on the left is commonly called "The Foster Mother" and the one on the right, "The Shepherd's Friends."
If you have any information about Walter S. Hunt or know the whereabouts of any of his original works, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW INFORMATION ON HUNT PAINTING - "BAFFLED"
I recently purchased a postcard displaying a print of the painting "Baffled" by Hunt. On the back of the postcard there was a paragraph saying that the painting was part of the art collection at Haussner's Restaurant in Baltimore, MD. The iconic 1950s restaurant at the corner of Eastern and Clinton Street was featured a couple of years ago in the hit TV show "Mad Men," stirring a renewed interest in the historic eatery. The large art collection was amassed over a period of years by William Henry Haussner's wife, Frances Wilke Haussner and in 1999 was sold at auction by Sothby's in New York..
Included in that collection is the painting shown below, titled "Baffled."
Thanks for looking! Kyt Eubanks