Ellen Sarah Gibbs as a little girl

Oil Painting
1863 (painted)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Frank Holl or Francis Montague Holl (1845-1888) was the eldest child of the well-known engraver Francis Holl (1815-1884). He entered the Royal Academy schools aged fifteen and in 1863 won a gold medal for the religious painting Abraham about to Sacrifice Isaac. He had a reputation for painting scenes depicting impending tragedy or death and often chose his subjects from observation of modern English life. He was a successful portraitist, painting many notable figures of his day, but very rarely painted women. This particular portrait is of Ellen Sarah Gibbs, later Mrs Edgar Holl.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on millboard
Brief Description
Oil painting on millboard, depicting a 'Portrait of Ellen Sarah Gibbs as a Little Girl', by Frank Holl. Great Britain, 1863.
Physical Description
Three-quarter view portrait of a young girl with long blonde hair seated in a chair. The girl holds an ?apple in her right hand and looks toward the left edge of the canvas.



On the back is an over-lifesize study (in grey and brown) of a hand with bent fingers.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 15in
  • Estimate width: 12.75in
  • Framed height: 46cm
  • Framed width: 41cm
  • Framed depth: 3.5cm
  • Framed height: 460mm
  • Framed width: 410mm
  • Framed depth: 35mm
Marks and Inscriptions
Frank Holl 1863 (signed lower right)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Mrs C. M. Baker through The Art Fund
Object history
Bequeathed by Mrs C. M. Baker through the National Art Collections Fund



Historical significance: Frank Holl (1845-1888) was born in London, the son of the engraver Francis Holl. He was accepted at the Royal Academy Schools at the age of 15, and in 1863 he won a gold medal for a religious painting. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1864 until his death. Holl specialised in a melancholy, even morbid strain of genre painting, and in the 1870s won popular success with paintings on the themes of social problems, illness and mortality.



In the late 1870s Holl became a successful and prolific portrait painter. This early exercise in the genre is a portrait of the artist's future sister-in-law. It was given to the V&A in 1958 by Mrs C.M. Baker through the Art Fund, along with Holl's painting of his younger brother when a small boy (P.1-1958). Also included in the gift was an oil sketch of the head of a Welsh fishergirl (P.3-1958). The small boy and girl are portraits of Mrs Baker's parents as children.
Subject depicted
Summary
Frank Holl or Francis Montague Holl (1845-1888) was the eldest child of the well-known engraver Francis Holl (1815-1884). He entered the Royal Academy schools aged fifteen and in 1863 won a gold medal for the religious painting Abraham about to Sacrifice Isaac. He had a reputation for painting scenes depicting impending tragedy or death and often chose his subjects from observation of modern English life. He was a successful portraitist, painting many notable figures of his day, but very rarely painted women. This particular portrait is of Ellen Sarah Gibbs, later Mrs Edgar Holl.
Collection
Accession Number
P.2-1958

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record createdMay 18, 2006
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