Mary Ann Hull was an artist who produced a selection of watercolour depictions of still life during the second half of the 19th-century. Her favourite subjects seem to have been fruit placed within a natural setting.
Her use of colour and toning makes the fruit appear ripe and abundant with flavour. A wasp resting upon one berry hints further at its sweetness, the insect desperate for a taste. The setting is perhaps a garden path, dusted with leaves and shrubbery - as if the fruit has fallen from a tree or basket, a sugary feast claimed by the wasp.
Although there is unfortunately not much to be known about Hull’s personal life, she was engaged professionally as a drawing teacher in her hometown of Leicester. Perhaps she might have taught at the Leicester school of art, which opened in 1870. It also seems to be the case her brother, too, was a drawing teacher. Surely an artistic streak ran in the family.
Hull also exhibited on a singular occasion at the Royal Academy in London, as well as with the Institute of Painters in Water Colours. In each case, she is listed as exhibiting still life. Long shunned as a lesser subject of art, still life was becoming an established and indeed respected art subject in the latter half of the 19th-century.
With the growth of new styles of painting such as impressionism, there was less of a focus on tradition and more on experimentation. Hull clearly participated in this experiment, successfully displaying her work despite lacking membership to either institution.
Exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Exhibited with the Institute of Painters in Water Colours.