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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Francis Montague ('Frank') Holl (1845-1888), Painter; son of Francis Holl

Painter and illustrator; born 4 July 1845, in Kentish Town, London (called Frank to distinguish him from his father, engraver Francis Holl). Entered Royal Academy Schools 1861, gold medallist (historical painting) 1863; exh. RA 1864–88, initially as a subject painter and from 1879 increasingly as a portraitist, especially of men; worked at the Graphic 1872–83; elected ARA 1878, RA 1883; died of heart failure at home in Hampstead, aged 43, on 31 July 1888.

Together with fellow illustrators Luke Fildes and Hubert von Herkomer, Holl worked in a dark social-realist style.

So little did the art of Italy mean to my father that we find him disgusted after a few weeks, pining for the grey, cloud-laden skies of the North, the sombre habit and temper of his fellow-countrymen.[1]

If one seeks for the dominant trait in his character, I think it was, perhaps, his extreme simplicity and modesty, which showed itself particularly in his estimate of his own work. No recognition, however assured, made him content with his own efforts.[2]

I think that he really threw into his art all the passion and smouldering intensity which found so little outlet in his social relationships. He was reticent, chary of self-revealing speech, to an extraordinary degree.[3]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Reynolds 1912, pp.312–13.
2) Reynolds 1912, p.317.
3) Reynolds 1912, p.318.

Referencesback to top

Aitchison 1891
Aitchison, G., ‘Holl, Francis Montague (1845–1888)’, DNB, London, 1891.

Bills & Webb 2007
Bills, M., and D. Webb, eds, Victorian Artists in Photographs: [The World of G.F. Watts]. Selections from the Rob Dickins Collection, exh. cat., Watts Gallery, Compton, 2007.

Bills 2013
Bills, M., Frank Holl: Emerging from the Shadows, Philip Wilson, London, in association with Watts Gallery, Compton, 2013.

Bury 1954
Bury, A., Shadow of Eros: A Biographical and Critical Study of the Life and Works of Sir Alfred Gilbert, London, 1954.

Cooper 1876–83
Cooper, T., Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, in Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law, Medicine, etc. Photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield, London, 7 ser., 1876–83.

Denker 1995
Denker, E., In Pursuit of the Butterfly: Portraits of James McNeill Whistler, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, 1995.

Fildes 1968
Fildes, L.V., Luke Fildes, R.A.: A Victorian Painter, London, 1968.

Gillett 1990
Gillett, P., The Victorian Painter’s World, Stroud, Glos., 1990.

Gould 2004
Gould, V.F., G.F. Watts: The Last Great Victorian, London, 2004.

Hatton 1903
Hatton, J., ‘The Life and Work of Alfred Gilbert R.A., M.V.O., L.L.D.’, Easter Art Annual, 1903, pp.1–32.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

Lane & Browne 1906
Lane, W.C., and N.E. Browne, eds, A.L.A. [American Library Association] Portrait Index, Washington, DC, 1906.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

McAllister 1929
McAllister, I.G., Alfred Gilbert, London, 1929.

MacCormick Edwards 2004b
MacCormick Edwards, L., ‘Holl, Francis Montague [Frank] (1845–1888)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004.

McMaster 2008
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.

McMaster 2009
McMaster, J., That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy, Edmonton, Canada, 2009.

Noakes 1978
Noakes, A., William Frith: Extraordinary Victorian Painter, London, 1978.

O’Donoghue 1908–22
O’Donoghue, F., Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 5 vols, London, 1908–22 (and vol.6, H.M. Hake, Supplement and indexes, 1925).

Ormond 2010
Ormond, L., Linley Sambourne: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist, London, 2010.

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Reynolds 1912
Reynolds, A.M., The Life and Work of Frank Holl, London, 1912.

Ribeiro 2000
Ribeiro, A., The Gallery of Fashion, London, 2000.

Swanson 1977
Swanson, V.G., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977.