Holl, Francis (1815-1884) (DNB00)

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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.