The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Francis Montague Holl, 1845-1888

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1845.07.04
Place of Birth: 7 St James' Terrace, Kentish Town, London
Date of Death: 1888.07.31
Place of Death: Fitzjohn's Avenue, Hampstead, London


Frank Francis Montague Holl was an English painter and illustrator, whose father Francis Holl was also an artist.


Holl was primarily known for his paintings of modern life, these frequently centering on the subject of death, e.g. No Tidings from Sea (1871; British Royal College). In this way, he was linked in the public mind to the Dutch painter Jozef Israëls. His concern for social realism placed him alongside such artists as Luke Fildes and Herbert von Herkomer with whom he contributed to The Graphic from 1872 to 1876. The late 1870s saw him turning increasingly to portraiture.

Holl's portraits, like those of Whistler, were heavily influenced by the works of Velásquez, and were admired by Whistler. In a letter of 1 May 1880 to Thomas Way Whistler praised a portrait by Holl being shown at the Grosvenor Gallery. He declared it to be better than any by Millais. Whistler was in correspondence with Holl in 1881 concerning some controversy with the Painter-Etcher's Society. In a letter of 29 November 1887 to George Augustus Sala Whistler declared Holl to be amongst the greatest painters of his age. Holl showed his works regularly at the R.A. from 1863 and was elected A.R.A. in 1878 and R.A. in 1883.


Dafforne, J., 'The Works of Frank Holl', Art Journal, vol. 38, 1876, pp. 9-12; Meynell, W., 'Our Living Artists: Frank Holl, ARA', Magazine of Art, vol. 3, 1880, pp. 187-91; Quilter, H., 'In Memoriam: Frank Holl', Universal Review, vol. 1, 1888, pp. 478-93; Campbell, G. E., 'Frank Holl and his Works', Art Journal, vol. 51, 1889, pp. 85-91; Reynolds, A. M., The Life and Work of Frank Holl, London, 1912; Edwards, Lee M., 'Frank (Montague) Holl', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 28 March 2002).