HALL, Lindsay Bernard (1859-1935)


HALL, Lindsay Bernard (1859-1935)
his first name was never used
artist
was born at Liverpool, England, on 28 December 1859. 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 10 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 G. F. Folingsby (q.v.) in 1891 he was appointed director of the national gallery at Melbourne, and began his duties in March 1892. He held the position for 43 years and 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 (q.v.) 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 comparatively 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 (1) in 1894 to Miss E. M. Shuter and (2) 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. The only exception was his advocacy of the Baconian theory, afterwards modified to a firm conviction that whether Bacon had any hand in the plays or not, the author was not the man from Stratford. In other matters his appeal was to tradition and the expert. He was a perfectly honest man, he could see no merit in the so-called modern school of painting and he said so. Its followers seemed to him to violate the first principles of art. His own paintings were carefully planned and always well drawn. His colour was not always so good, and this was especially apparent in some of his earlier nudes. The examples of his work in the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide galleries show him to have been a conscientious and excellent artist. As a teacher his somewhat cold manner, which really came from a kind of shyness, sometimes repelled his pupils in his earlier days, but he mellowed as he grew older. There has been much difference of opinion as to the value of his methods of teaching, but his long roll of distinguished pupils suggests that his insistence on sincerity, truth and good drawing, must have been of great value to them. In any case, Hall's personality was a strong influence for the good of art in his time.
The Argus, Melbourne, 16 February, 1935; Harold B. Herbert, The Star, Melbourne, 16 February 1935; E. La T. Armstrong, The Argus, 23 February 1935; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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