Martha Saie Kathleen Hunter
22 January 1910
|Died||July 20, 1989 (aged 79)|
|Alma mater||Belfast College of Art, Royal College of Art London|
Mercy Hunter MBE (22 January 1910 – 20 July 1989) was a Northern Irish artist, calligrapher and teacher.
Mercy Hunter was born in Belfast on 22 January 1910, one of five children of William Hunter, Presbyterian minister, and his Russian wife Alice Beyer. Hunter was christened Martha Saie Kathleen, but was always known as Mercy. Her parents served as missionaries in China, with Hunter travelling to Manchuria at the age of four. She spent her childhood there, leaving to attend secondary school in Toronto, Canada, and in Belfast Royal Academy. She went on to attend Belfast College of Art from 1927 to 1929, then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London from 1930 to 1933. Whilst in London she met numerous other Northern Irish artists, including William Scott, F. E. McWilliam, Crawford Mitchell, and her future husband George MacCann a sculptor. Hunter returned to Belfast in 1937 with the couple marrying in 1938. Hunter died on 20 July 1989, in hospital in Dungannon.
Hunter spent the majority of her career as an art teacher in a number of grammar schools in Northern Ireland such as Dungannon High School for Girls, County Tyrone, Banbridge Academy, County Down, and Armagh High School. She became the head of art at Victoria College, Belfast in 1947, teaching there until her retirement in 1970. Hunter also received an MBE in 1970. She is best known for her calligraphy, illuminated addresses, and a small number of illustrated books including her husband's 1942 book Sparrows Round my Brow. She also created costume designs for the local theatres and for Patricia Mulholland's ballet company. She was a member of the Royal Ulster Academy, serving as president from 1975 to 1977, receiving an honorary MA from Queen's University Belfast in 1975. Hunter was amongst the founding members of the Ulster Society of Women Artists, and owing to her numerous lectures and broadcasts, Hunter was a well known local female artist to the Northern Irish public in her day.
A number of Hunter's works are held by the Ulster Museum and Grand Opera House, Belfast. The Ulster History Circle unveiled a plaque to Hunter on 3 November 2010, at her former address of 23 Botanic Avenue, Belfast.
- Lunney, Linde (2009). "Hunter, Mercy". In McGuire, James; Quinn, James. Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- "Mercy Hunter 1910 - 1989". Three Belfast Artists. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- Newmann, Kate. "Mercy Hunter (1910 - 1989): Artist, Calligrapher and Teacher". The Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- "Artists in Britain Since 1945 - Chapter H". issuu. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- "Celebrating Belfast Women" (PDF). Women's Resource & Development Agency. Retrieved 30 June 2015.