Coming from a renowned family of animal painters, Walter Hunt is best known for his paintings of farmyard and animal genre scenes, being one of the last exponents of this fine tradition. Walter’s father, Charles, was a painter of the contemporary genre, often humorous and historical subjects. Edgar, Walter’s nephew, though unrecognized in his day, learnt his craft of painting animals with Walter and is now one of the most popular members of this family.
Although nothing is known of Walter’s early artistic training, it can be assumed that he was principally taught by his father. While Charles specialised in figurative scenes, Walter favoured animals for his subjects. He shared this interest with Edgar and often made trips with his nephew to the Cotswolds in order to sketch and paint domestic and wild animals. They were particularly drawn to farm life, Walter specialising in barnyard scenes with titles like Twins and Best of Friends. They shared a house together from 1902-1907 and exhibited intermittently in the provinces; in catalogues, Edgar always referred to their house by its number while Walter by its name. Around this time, it is recorded that Walter’s paintings were commanding much higher prices than his nephew, in the region between £200 and £420. He also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1881 onwards.