BORN 28 Sep 1862, Durham - DIED 16 Jan 1942, London: South Lodge, 80 Campden Hill Road, Kensington|
REAL NAME Hunt, Isobel Violet
GRAVE LOCATION Woking, Surrey: Brookwood Cemetery (plot 56 (ashes))
Violet Hunt was the daughter of painter Alfred William Hunt and novelist Margaret Raine Hunt. She had two younger sisters, Venetia and Sylvia. In 1865 the family moved to London. She was educated together with the daughters of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, but Gabriel Dante Rossetti disliked her. When she was thirteen years old she suggested that she would marry John Ruskin, who was 43 years her senior and the godfather of her sister Venice. Ruskin was interested but he would have to wait until she was sixteen and nothing came of it. But she was a sparkling young lady and it is possible that Oscar Wilde proposed to her in 1879.
After she abandoned studying art she turned into a novelist and her books were successful. Among her novels were "Unkist, Unkind!" (1897), "The House Of Mirrors" (1910) and "The Tiger Skin" (1924). Her "Wife of Rossetti", a biography of Elizabeth Siddal, was as successful as it was unreliable. From 1876 to 1939 she kept a diary.
Between 1910 and 1918 she was Ford Madox Ford's lover and she lived with him at South Lodge, Campden Hill. Among her other lovers were H.G. Wells and W. Somerset Maugham, who based Nora Nesbit in "Of Human Bondage" on her. She loved cats and was often surrounded by them.
After her death in 1942 her ashes were interred in her father's grave in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
Mother: Raine, Margaret
Father: Hunt, Alfred William
knew Hall, Radclyffe
knew Ruskin, John
wrote about Siddal, Elizabeth
was a friend of West, Rebecca
was a friend of Wilde, Oscar
Belford, Barbara, Violet, The Story of the Irrepressible Violet Hunt and her circle of Lovers and Friends, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1990
Browning, D.C. (editor), Dictionary of Literary biography, Dent, London, 1958
Hardwick, Joan, An Immodest Violet, André Deutsch, London, 1990
Daiches, David (ed.), The Penguin Companion to Literature 1, Penguin Books, 1971
Todd, Janet (ed.), Dictionary of British Woman Writers, Routledge, London, 1989