Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Standish, Frank Hall

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STANDISH, FRANK HALL (1799–1840), connoisseur and author, born at Blackwell in the parish of Darlington, Durham, on 2 Oct. 1799, was the only child of Anthony Hall of Flass, Durham. As cousin and heir-at-law of Sir Frank Standish of Duxbury Hall, Chorley, Lancashire, he succeeded to the estates (but not to the title) of that baronet in 1812, and by royal license assumed the name and arms of Standish. He only occasionally visited Duxbury, his favourite residence being at Seville, Spain, where he had a fine house, and he spent considerable time in travelling in France and other parts of the continent. His income was largely spent in the acquisition of works of art and literature. He died unmarried at Cadiz on 21 Dec. 1840 on his way home from Seville, and his body was brought to Duxbury and buried in the chancel of Chorley church.

By his will he left to King Louis-Philippe, as a mark of respect to the French nation, the whole of his collection of books, manuscripts, prints, pictures, and drawings, for his sole private use or for any public institution, as the king might think proper. The collection of pictures was especially rich in paintings by Murillo and other Spanish artists, and was deposited in the ‘Musée Standish’ in the Louvre. After the revolution in 1848 the king claimed the collection as his private property, and at the end of four or five years the claim was allowed. The pictures were brought back to England in an injured state and sold by Christie, Manson, & Wood in London in May 1853. The drawings and books were sold in Paris in December 1852. It is said that Standish had intended to offer the collection to the British government in the event of the authorities consenting to revive the family baronetcy, but his overtures were unsuccessful.

His works were:

  1. ‘The Life of Voltaire, with interesting particulars respecting his death, and anecdotes and characters of his Contemporaries,’ 1821.
  2. ‘The Shores of the Mediterranean,’ 2 vols. 1837, 1839.
  3. ‘Poems: the Maid of Jaen, Timon, and the Bride of Palencia,’ 1838. The first of these poems was published about 1830, a second edition being printed at Chorley in 1832.
  4. ‘Notices of the Northern Capitals of Europe,’ 1838.
  5. ‘Seville and its Vicinity,’ 1840, with a portrait of the author.

[Gent. Mag. June 1841, p. 662; Manchester City News Notes and Queries, v. 65, 112, 114; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. iii. 2219; Baines's Lancashire, ed. Croston, iv. 245; Curtis's Velasquez and Murillo, 1883, p. 5.]

C. W. S.