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HALL, JOHN (1739–1797), line engraver, was born at Wivenhoe, near Colchester, on 21 Dec. 1739. Early in life he came to London, and in 1756 he was awarded a premium by the Society of Arts. He was also employed in painting on china in the celebrated works at Chelsea. He then became a pupil of François Simon Ravenet, in whose studio at the same time was the unfortunate William Wynne Ryland. His plates in Bell's ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘British Theatre’ were among his earliest works, and by them he gained much reputation. In 1763 his name appears on the roll of the Free Society of Artists, but in 1766 he subscribed the roll declaration of the Incorporated Society of Artists of Great Britain, with whom he continued to exhibit until 1776. In 1785 he was appointed historical engraver to George III, in succession to William Woollett. His most important engravings were after the works of Benjamin West, P.R.A., and comprise ‘William Penn treating with the Indians for the Province of Pennsylvania,’ ‘The Death of the Duke of Schomberg at the Battle of the Boyne,’ ‘Oliver Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament,’ ‘Venus relating to Adonis the Story of Hippomenes and Atalante,’ ‘Pyrrhus when a Child brought to Glaucias, king of Illyria, for Protection,’ ‘Moses,’ and ‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ He also engraved ‘Timon of Athens,’ after Nathaniel Dance; ‘The Death of Captain Cook,’ after George Carter; ‘Thieves in a Market,’ and ‘Thieves playing at Dice,’ after John Hamilton Mortimer, and other plates, some of which were for the collection of Alderman Boydell. Besides these he executed several portraits, including those of Pope Clement IX, after Carlo Maratti; Edward Gibbon, Samuel Johnson, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, after Sir Joshua Reynolds; Sir William Blackstone and George Colman, after Gainsborough; Admiral Lord Hawke, after Francis Cotes; Isaac Barré, after Gilbert Stuart; Bishop Warburton, after William Hoare; Shakespeare, from the Chandos portrait; Dr. John Jortin, after Edward Penny, and smaller portraits for the illustration of books. Hall, who ranks as one of the best historical engravers, died in Berwick Street, Soho, London, on 7 April 1797, and was buried in Paddington churchyard. He married Mary de Gilles, of Huguenot descent, and was father of George William Hall, master of Pembroke College, Oxford (1770–1843), and of Julia, wife of Rann Kennedy [q. v.] There is a portrait of him by Gilbert Stuart in the National Portrait Gallery.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1878; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves, 1886–9; Galt's Life and Studies of Benjamin West, 1816–20; Pye's Patronage of British Art, 1845.]

R. E. G.