Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Von Holst, Theodor

719596Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 58 — Von Holst, Theodor1899Campbell Dodgson

VON HOLST, THEODOR (1810–1844), historical painter, the son of a teacher of music of Livonian descent, was born in London on 3 Sept. 1810. At an early age he was admitted a student at the Royal Academy, where he attracted the notice of Sir Thomas Lawrence, who bought some of his drawings. But the artist who influenced him most was Fuseli, whose pupil he became and whose peculiarities he copied and exaggerated. He sent his first picture to the Royal Academy in 1827, and continued to exhibit there and at the British Institution till the year of his death. His subjects were either taken from literature, Dante, Shakespeare, Scott, and especially Goethe, or inventions of his own with melodramatic titles. His principal works were ‘The Drinking Scene in Faust,’ ‘The Apparition to the second Lord Lyttelton,’ and ‘The Raising of Jairus's daughter’ (engraved), for which the directors of the British Institution awarded him a prize of fifty guineas in 1841. He was gifted with a talent for drawing and a fine sense of colour, but it was the universal opinion of critics that he was spoilt by ill-advised adulation, and that his powers were wasted on the gloomy and romantic subjects which he chose to paint. He illustrated an edition of ‘Frankenstein,’ by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, published in 1831. He died at 2 Percy Street, Bedford Square, on 12 Feb. 1844.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Athenæum, 1844, pp. 321, 701; Art Union, 1844, p. 87.]

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