Edward Robert Hughes RWS (5 November 1851 - 23 April 1914) was an British painter who worked prominently in watercolours. He was influenced by his uncle, and eminent Pre-Raphaelite, Arthur Hughes.
Having settled on his career choice, Edward Hughes attended Heatherley's in London to prepare himself for the chance of auditioning for the Royal Academy School. Hughes became a student at the Royal Academy School in 1868. While Pre-Raphaelitism played an influential part in shaping Hughes work, Aestheticism is also seen in his paintings.
Edward Hughes is widely known for his works Midsummer Eve and Night With Her Train of Stars yet he built a career as a portrait painter to the upper classes. In addition to being an accomplished artist himself, Edward Hughes was also a studio assistant to the elder artist and Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt. Hunt himself suffered from glaucoma. Two of the paintings that Hughes worked on with Hunt were The Light of the World, which is currently on display in St Paul's Cathedral, and The Lady of Shalott. On his own he experimented with ambitious techniques and was a perfectionist; he did numerous studies for many of his paintings, some of which turned out to be good enough for exhibition.
Hughes held several important offices within the artistic community over his life time such as becoming a member of the Art Workers Guild in 1888, and was on their committee from 1895-1897. He was elected to Associate Membership of The Royal Water Colour Society (ARWS) on February 18, 1891, and he chose as his diploma work for election to full membership a mystical piece inspired by a verse by Christina Rossetti Amor Mundi. In later years Hughes served as the Vice-President of the RWS before leaving in 1903.
Edward Hughes moved to St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he was later stricken with appendicitis; he died after surgery on April 23, 1914 in his home (no. 3 Romeland). Throughout his career, Hughes exhibited his works in several galleries around London: Dudley Gallery, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, The Royal Academy, and toward the end of his career he exhibited with The Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours (RWS).
His works can be seen in public collections including Bradford Museums and Galleries, Cambridge and County Folk Museum, Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery, Bruce Castle Museum, Kensington and Chelsea Local Studies, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston and the National Trust for Scotland.
Edward Robert Hughes [1851-1914] è stato un pittore Inglese. Hughes nacque a Londra da una famiglia borghese. Suo zio era il pittore Arthur Hughes. Dopo i primi studi aderì alla concezione pittorica dei Pre-Raffaelliti e a quella dell'Estetismo. Hughes usava molto anche l'acquarello e la tempera, ottenendo effetti spesso eccezionali. Fu un autentico perfezionista, un vero e proprio cultore della bellezza assoluta che non si stancava mai di perseguire anche attraverso la ricerca di nuove ed ambiziose tecniche. Nel 1891 fu eletto membro della Royal Watercolour Society.
Quando il più anziano William Holman Hunt venne colpito da una grave forma di cecità progressiva, Hughes divenne il suo assistente e lo aiutò a completare alcune opere fra le quali The Lady of Shalott e la versione ingrandita de La luce del mondo che oggi si trova nella St. Paul's Cathedral. Morì nel suo cottage di St Albans nello Hertfordshire, il 23 aprile del 1914, poco dopo un intervento chirurgico.