Alfred William Hunt was born in Liverpool in 1830. He began to paint while at the Liverpool Collegiate School. However at his father’s suggestion he went in 1848 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford to study classics. His career there was distinguished; he won the Newdigate Prize in 1851 for his poem Nineveh, and became a Fellow of Corpus in 1853.
He did not, however, abandon his artistic practice for, encouraged by Ruskin, he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, and afterwards contributed landscapes in oil and water-colour to London and other provincial exhibitions. In 1861 he married, and in 1862 was elected as an Associate of the Old Water-Colour Society, receiving full membership in 1864. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
His wife Margaret Raine Hunt wrote several works of fiction.
Their daughter Violet Hunt, was a novelist.