Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 27.djvu/140

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


bridge and Ashton Waterworks Bill, and removed to London in 1864. He obtained the rank of queen's counsel in 1866, and at once stepped into a leading position on his circuit; he was so successful in a patent case (his first) upon his first assize after ‘taking silk’ that patent cases formed thenceforward the larger part of his practice. In 1872 he successfully contested a by-election in the conservative interest at Preston. The election, the first under the Ballot Act, attracted much attention. At the same time the Tichborne case, absorbing many of the best known leaders at the bar, left an opening, of which Holker, hitherto little known in London, was able to avail himself. At the general elections in 1874 and in 1880 he was re-elected for Preston; was appointed solicitor-general by Mr. Disraeli and was knighted (1874). On the appointment of Sir Richard Baggallay to the court of appeal in November 1875 Holker became attorney-general. His practice became enormous, and his income during two consecutive years was 22,000l. a year. Persuasiveness, shrewdness, and tact made him extraordinarily successful in winning verdicts. In the House of Commons he proved a successful law-officer; he opposed Bass's bill to abolish committals for contempt in county courts, vigorously attacked Mr. Gladstone's Eastern policy in 1877, introduced the Criminal Code Bill and Bankruptcy Bill, and carried the Summary Procedure Act and Public Prosecution Act in 1879. It was known that he was anxious to obtain the post of lord chief baron, but Sir Fitzroy Kelly was unwilling to vacate it, and he returned to private practice on the fall of Lord Beaconsfield's administration in 1880. While absent for his health's sake on the Riviera, he was appointed by the government of Mr. Gladstone, who personally appreciated his close powers of reasoning, a lord justice of appeal in January 1882. He sat in that court only a few months, though long enough to display great judicial powers, was compelled by failing health to resign his office on 19 May, died at his house in Devonshire Street, Portland Place, on 24 May, and was buried 30 May in his mother's grave at Lytham, Lancashire. Lord Coleridge, in a panegyric upon him in the court of appeal on 26 May, said of him that ‘he filled with applause the offices of solicitor-general and attorney-general, and at the time of his death stood by universal consent in the very first rank of his profession.’ Many acts of unostentatious kindness to members of his profession are ascribed to him. He married, first, Jane, daughter of James Wilson of Eccles, Lancashire; and, secondly, Mary Lucia, daughter of Patrick McHugh of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, but left no issue.

[Times, 25 May 1882; Law Magazine, Law Journal, and Solicitors' Journal, 26 May 1882.]

J. A. H.

HOLL, FRANCIS (1815–1884), engraver, fourth son of William Holl the elder [q. v.], the engraver, by his wife Mary Ravenscroft, was born 23 March 1815 at Bayham Street, Camden Town. Francis learned his profession wholly from his father, and soon achieved marked success as a line engraver. He was engaged for twenty-five years in engraving pictures belonging to the queen, and he illustrated the ‘Life of the Prince Consort’ by Sir Theodore Martin. He was celebrated for his beautiful engravings of chalk drawings, and engraved many of Mr. George Richmond's portraits. His principal works were: ‘The Stocking Loom,’ by A. Elmore, R.A., ‘The Coming of Age in the Olden Time,’ and ‘The Railway Station,’ by Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A. He exhibited seventeen engravings in the Royal Academy between 1856 and 1879, and was elected an associate of the Academy in January 1883.

Holl was an admirable amateur actor, and belonged to a company called ‘The Histrionics,’ who played at the St. James's Theatre. His part of Mungo in the ‘Padlock,’ played in 1842, was a very marked success. He often played comic characters for the benefit of the Artists' General Benevolent Fund, in company with George Cruikshank, F. W. Topham, Mr. John Tenniel, and others. He sang well, and was an excellent player on the violoncello. He lived for many years at 30 Gloucester Road, Regent's Park, and retired about 1879 to Elm House, Milford, Surrey. He died of peritonitis on 14 Jan. 1884, and was buried at Highgate cemetery on the 19th.

On 23 Sept. 1841 he married Alicia Margaret, daughter of Robert Dixon, a naval officer, who was wounded at the battle of Trafalgar. By her Holl had two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Francis Montague, usually called Frank Holl, the painter, is separately noticed.

Holl's portrait was twice taken by his son Frank Holl. The first, a chalk drawing, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1868, and the second, an oil painting, in 1884, and again in the winter exhibition, 1889. It is the property of his widow.

[Private information; Royal Academy Books and Catalogues; Times, 17 and 18 Jan. 1883, also 17 and 19 Jan. 1884; playbills of the Histrionics, 5 Aug. and 19 Oct. 1842; prints at the British Museum.]

G. A-n.