Frank Holl was born in London; the son of engraver Francis Holl. He entered the Royal Academy Schools at 15. In 1869 he was awarded a travelling scholarship but abandoned his travels after a month. After his return, Queen Victoria commissioned ‘No Tidings from the Sea’ (1871). Holl continued to paint similarly melancholy subjects. He also made some 20 illustrations for ‘The Graphic’ (1872-83), along with Luke Fildes and Hubert von Herkomer. Together they became part of an informal school, interested in social realism. Late in his career, Holl turned to portraiture, producing 197 portraits in just nine years. His productivity and success brought him wealth but may also have contributed to the heart disease which led to his death, aged 43.
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