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April Love

Photo credit: Tate

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This is Hughes' best-known work, and one of the most popular of all Pre-Raphaelite paintings. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856, the accompanying catalogue contained a quotation from one of the songs in Tennyson's 'The Miller's Daughter', in which the young lovers fear the passing of their love: 'Love is hurt with jar and fret, | Love is made a sweet regret; | Eyes with idle tears are wet, | Idle habits link us yet. | What is love? for we forget: | Ah, no! no!' The painting was not conceived as an illustration to the poem, but rather the verse reinforced Hughes's depiction of fragile young love. Hughes changed the setting from a millstream with chestnut trees and forget-me-nots to an ivy-clad arbour or summerhouse with lilac outside the window and rose petals on the stone floor.


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More information

April Love




Oil on canvas


H 88.9 x W 49.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased 1909

Work type


Inscription description

date inscribed


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