Tripoli from the Beach Club, watercolour on paper, signed R. Hunt, c1955.
Watercolour on paper. Dimensions : Frame : 318mm x 418mm x 14mm. Image : 212mm x 298mm. Weight : 1.100kg net. Condition : Quite good.
Tripoli from Beach Club, watercolour on paper, signed obscure letters(R), monogram, Hunt, c1955.
Currently considering Esther Anna Hunt (1875-1951) American Orientalist but this has been discounted by recent evidence that the artist is Colonel Richard Hunt, RAMC. This provenance has been provided by the daughter of Brigadier LP Molineaux who served in the Royal Artillery in the Near and Far East after WWII, including Tripoli, Malaya and Singapore. (Courtesy of Diane Gardner).
Dimensions : Frame : 318mm x 418mm x 14mm. Image : 212mm x 298mm. Weight : 1.100kg net.
Condition/Notes : Quite good. The watercolour study of the Tripoli waterfront as viewed from the Beach Club is in quite good condition with quite good colours and no foxing or moisture. The study depicts several well known landmarks which will be known to viewers familar with the city and presents a peaceful visage of a time long past and never to return. There are a couple of shadows on the painting which are cast by marks on the inside of the glazing and these can be easily removed on opening the frame. The painting is signed in pencil in the lower rh corner and can be clearly read as Hunt but the initial(s) is somewhat obscure but appears to be R followed by another diagonal line which could be J or part of an A - since considered this could be a monogram of RAMC but now accepted as R for Richard. Further examination of the signature indicates that it could be KY Hunt (see the added images at end below) but this has since been discounted. The title of the painting written in pencil handscript on the lower mount appears to be of the same hand. There are similarities in style and subject to the North African watercolour works of Edward Aubrey Hunt and the signature bears similarities in the elongated H of Hunt and A of Aubrey ( the initials could be combined EA at an angle) although I have not found his signature without E. Aubrey in full - since discounted. See the images below. (If this was the case then date of execution would have to go back to c1900 - was the Beach Club built at that time?). Evidence now indicates that Col. Richard Hunt RAMC served in the Royal Artillery after WWII in the Near/Far East including Tripoli, Malaya and Singapore. A similar study of Changi Beach in Singapore dated 1962, with the same signature and monogram, is known to exist and has provenance. Richard Hunt was born in India and joined the Army approx. 1936 (RAMC).
Further research indicates that the Beach Club was probably located on the Mellaha Air Base built by the Italians in 1923 and subsequently acquired by the USAF in 1943 which will date the painting to the late 40's or early 1950's. This could link the painting to the American artist Esther Anna Hunt known for her Orientalist and landscape works (1875-1951) - the signature is similar and known monograms combine the EA and HUNT which is possible in this signature. Further research has discounted this as detailed above.
The painting is displayed within an old off-white mount with the title in pencil handscript below. Gilt frame has scuffing and wear to edges, hardboard backing secured by modern points and sealed with gummed tape which is split in places. Rings and cord attached. This painting is an interesting speculative work which merits more research. Any further info will be added in due course. Please view the images below :
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