Artist, teacher, Director of Melbourne??s National Gallery and Felton Bequest advisor
English-born Australian, 1859-1935
was an English-born Australian artist. Hall was born at Liverpool, England. The son of a Liverpool broker of the same family as Captain Basil Hall, writer of books of travel, he was well educated and grew up in an atmosphere of culture. He studied painting at South Kensington, Antwerp and Munich, and worked for some to years in London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and was one of the original members of the New English Art Club. On the death of George Frederick Folingsby in 1891 he was appointed director of the National Gallery of Victoria at Melbourne, and began his duties in March 1892. He held the position for 43 years aria many of the well-known painters of Australia were trained by him in the gallery painting school. He also acted as adviser to the trustees for purchases for the gallery and art museum, and when the munificent bequest of Alfred Felton was received his responsibilities were much increased. In 1905 he went to England to make purchases under this bequest, and although the amount then placed in his hands was comparatively small, he made better use of what was available than any subsequent adviser of his time. After his return he was expected to advise on everything submitted that might find a place in an art museum and, although he never claimed to be an expert in all these things, he supplemented his knowledge with hard reading and made cornparatively few mistakes. Hall's own paintings were usually interiors, nudes, or paintings of still life. He was often represented at the Victorian Artists' and other societies' exhibitions and held several one-man shows, but he was kept so busily employed as director and adviser, that his paintings had to be done at week ends and during vacations. In February 1934 he again went to London as adviser to the Felton trustees and died there on 14 February 1935. He was married twice in 1894 to Miss E. M. Shuter and in 1912 to Miss G. H. Thomson, who with one son by the first marriage and two sons and a daughter by the second marriage, survived him. Hall was a tall man of distinguished appearance, courteous but slightly austere in manner, with strong convictions, and little sense of compromise. He was extremely conservative in almost everything from his art to his politics.
Nude Reading at studio fire