Liverpool artist Alfred William Hunt was the only surviving son of landscape painter Andrew Hunt (1790-1861). He was educated at Liverpool Collegiate School and Corpus Christi, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate prize and was elected a fellow in 1853. Hunt decided to become an artist and returned to Liverpool where he studied at Liverpool Academy Life Class. He first exhibited at the Liverpool Academy in 1847 and was elected Associate in 1854, Member in 1856 and a non-resident member in 1865. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy, London from 1856.
His early work followed the pattern of his father and the latter's friend, David Cox (1783-1859). In the late 1850's he came under the Pre-Raphaelite influence and joined the Hogarth Club as a non resident member in 1858. Hunt married in 1861 and moved to Durham, and then to London in 1865. He painted mostly in watercolour in the early 1860s due to an unsympathetic reception by the Royal Academy and achieved considerable success. Hunt was associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1862 and Member in 1864. He also exhibited at Suffolk Street, the Grosvenor Gallery, and the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition until his death.