with the encouragement of his uncle, Charles Cockerell.
In 1842 he restored the aisle of Wells Cathedral, where another uncle Dr. Goodenough, was dean. While curate he designed and executed in 1844 the ceilings of St. Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford, and he was responsible for the fine ceiling of Merton College chapel in 1850. Early in 1855 he accepted the invitation of John Henry Newman [q. v.], the rector, to become professor of fine arts in the catholic university of Ireland in Dublin, and to build and decorate the university church. His lectures, which began in June 1855 (printed in 'Atlantis,' the official magazine of the university), dealt with general aesthetic principles rather than with technique, in which he had no adequate training. He also joined the staff of the 'Tablet' newspaper, where he showed independence and sagacity as an art critic, detecting the merits of Turner and Whistler long before their general recognition.
In the summer of 1857 Pollen finally settled in London, living first at Hampstead and from 1858 to 1878 at Bayswater. He had previously met at Oxford Turner and Millais, and through Millais grew intimate with other Pre-Raphaelites. With Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and William Morris he' assisted in the fresco decoration of the hall of the Union Society at Oxford in the summer of 1858 (see Holman Hunt's Story of the Paintings at the Oxford Union Society, Oxford, 1906, fol.; Esther Wood's Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, 1894, pp. 142-6; Memorials of Sir E. Burne-Jones, 1904, i. 158 seq.). He was one of the first to reintroduce fresco decoration into England. Meanwhile his admiration for Turner's work brought him Ruskin's acquaintance (1855), and in 1860, at Ruskin's request, he designed for the new Oxford Museum a scheme of decoration, which was not carried out; his drawing is in the Museum (see The Times, 11 Feb. 1909).
From 1860 onwards Pollen was busily engaged on private and public commissions. Chief among his works were the decoration of Blickling Hall, Aylsham, for the Marquis of Lothian in 1860, and the fresco decoration at Alton Towers, the seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury (1874–7). At Alton Towers he produced the effect of tapestry by skilfully and with archaeological accuracy painting in oil on rough canvas incidents in the hundred years' war. A design in water-colours for one of the canvases, 'The Landing of Henry V at Harfleur,' was purchased after Pollen's death for South Kensington Museum. He was responsible for stained glass windows, furniture, and panels in the Jacobean style at another of Lord Shrewsbury's seats; Ingestre Hall, Stafford, from 1876 to 1891; he built a house in 1876 for Lord Lovelace on the Thames Embankment, and an ornamental cottage in 1894 at Chenies for the Duchess of Bedford. Among many ecclesiastical commissions was the building and decoration in 1863 of the church of St. Mary, Rhyl, and of the convent of the Sacred Heart at Wandsworth in 1870.
Meanwhile, Thackeray, for whose 'Denis Duval' Pollen made in 1863 an unfinished series of sketches, introduced him to Sir Henry Cole [q. v.], who appointed him in December 1863 official editor of the art and industrial departments of the South Kensington (now Victoria and Albert) Museimi. He also served on the advisory committee for purchases until November 1876. Pollen devoted his energies to the South Kensington collections, and besides issuing official catalogues gave lectures on historical ornament and kindred subjects. He served on the jury for art at the international exhibition at South Kensington in 1862, at the Dublin exhibition in 1865, and at Paris in 1867. At the Society of Arts he lectured frequently on decorative art, delivering the Cantor lectures in 1885 on 'Carving and Furniture,' and winning the society's silver medal for a paper on 'Renaissance Woodwork' in 1898.
Resigning his South Kensington post in November 1876, Pollen became in December private secretary to the Marquis of Ripon [q. V. Suppl. II], and continued to conduct the marquis's correspondence in England after 1880, when Lord Ripon went to India as viceroy. In the autumn of 1884 Pollen visited India, and after a brief archæological tour returned home with the viceroy in December 1884. A privately printed pamphlet entitled 'An Indian Farewell to the Marquis of Ripon' (1885) described his Indian experience. He thenceforth avowed himself an advanced liberal in both Indian and Irish politics, supporting the efforts of Mr. Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in Ireland and forming an intimacy with Gladstone.
Artistic pursuits however remained to the end his chief interest, and his services as a decorator continued in demand. In 1886 and 1887 he exhibited drawings at the Royal Academy and at the Paris Salon, and he prepared in 1880 a series of designs for St. George's Hall, Liverpool, which were