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Frank Holl R.A. | Victorian painter

Francis Montague Holl RA (London 4 July 1845 - 31 July 1888 London) was an British painter, specializing in somewhat sentimental paintings with a moment from a narrative situation, often drawing on the trends of social realism and the problem picture in Victorian painting.
He was also, especially in his later years when the demand for social realism slackened, a portrait painter, mostly of official-type portraits of distinguished and therefore elderly men, including members of the royal family.
He died in his early 40s, which some contemporaries attributed to overwork, as he had been very busy in the last twenty years of his life.

His reputation fell considerably after his death, and the exhibition at the Watts Gallery in 2013 and its catalogue were the first such attention he had received for a century.

Holl was born in London to the family of noted engravers, being the son of Francis Holl ARA, as well as a nephew of William Holl the Younger and a grandson of William Holl the Elder, whose profession he originally intended to follow.
He was educated mainly at University College School. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer in painting in 1860, he rapidly progressed, winning silver and gold medals, and making his debut as an exhibitor in 1864 with A Portrait, and Turned out of Church, a subject picture.

A Fern Gatherer (1865); The Ordeal (1866); Convalescent (the somewhat grim pathos of which attracted much attention), and Faces in the Fire (1867), succeeded.

Holl gained the travelling studentship in 1868; the successful work was characteristic of the young painter's mood, being The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.
In 1869 he was recruited as an artist by the wood-engraver and social reformer William Luson Thomas, to work on Thomas's newly founded newspaper, The Graphic.

Admirers of Holl included Vincent van Gogh, who in letters to his brother Theo and friend Anthon van Rappard expressed his admiration for Holl.
Whilst living in London van Gogh fastidiously cut out and collected Holl’s engravings published in The Graphic.

In 1886, he produced a portrait of Millais as his diploma work, but his health rapidly declined and he died at Hampstead, north London, on 31 July 1888.
He is buried in a vault on the western side of Highgate Cemetery and was joined by his wife Annie Laura on the 10th June 1931, who died aged 86 at their home, Three Gables, Fitzjohn's Avenue, Hampstead. There is also a memorial to Holl at St Paul's Cathedral.

Frank Holl: Emerging from the Shadows was a 2013 exhibition at the Watts Gallery in Surrey, England which included 14 paintings by the artist.
Many of Holl's paintings have been lost, however; their importance as pieces of social realism ensures that the ones around will retain their value.
His painting Leaving Home was recently rediscovered.

Da: British Museum
Disegnatore, illustratore, pittore e ritrattista reale; nato a Kentish Town, Londra, da una famiglia di incisori; ha ricevuto la sua prima istruzione da suo padre, Francis Holl, ARA; studiò alla University College School ed entrò nelle Royal Academy Schools all'età di 15 anni nel 1860, ricevendo una medaglia d'argento nel 1862 e d'oro nel 1863.
Ha esposto alla Royal Academy dal 1864 fino alla sua morte; divenendo Associato nel 1878 ed Accademico nel 1883. Le sue opere principali includevano i ritratti della regina Vittoria, del principe di Galles e di importanti politici.

Il suo lavoro è presente in molte collezioni pubbliche tra cui: la Government Art Collection, la Royal Collection, la Guildhall Art Gallery, la Tate Gallery, la Leeds Art Gallery e la Royal Academy.
La Watts Gallery ha allestito una mostra, "Frank Holl: Emerging from the Shadows", 2013.| Fonte: © British Museum