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 Hugh Russell Hall  (1905 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England/Scotland      Known for: portrait painting, illustration, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

The following information has been provided by Adrienne Hall Cox, youngest daughter of the artist Hugh Russell Hall.

Hugh Russell Hall was born in Dundee, Scotland February 28, 1905 and died September 20, 1984 in Halstead, Essex, England. He also worked as an illustrator, under the name  Paul Rainer. 

In1924, he married Isobel Wallace Watson, and they had a daughter, Audrey, born in 1931. His second wife was Doreen Iris Hall (nee Cole), born February 12, 1923 and died December 25, 1997.  She was an illustrator who used the name of Joanna Curzon.

A Son of the Manse, Hugh Russell Hall began his career as a jazz musician with his own jazz band, Russell Hall’s, possibly the first to broadcast on radio in Scotland. He abandoned this lucrative career when his first marriage broke up.  He went to France to study under Emile Othon Friesz.

Returning from France just before the start of the second World War, he served as a fireman in London during the blitz, continuing to paint at his easel, which he had erected on the disused landing of the fire station while waiting for call outs. A lecturer at St. Martins School of Art after the war, he was a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Chelsea Arts Club.  He was a contemporary and friend of Frederick Gore.

His works include portraits of A.S. G. Butler, of his mother and also Lord and Lady Hancock of Australia. Some of his work may be found in private collections in Canada and Australia as well as in the U.K. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, but never became a Member.

He lived and worked in London but retired to Little Maplestead and then to Halstead where he died.

Further biographical detail may be found in the book Mixed Impressions, Memoires of an Artist’s Daughter by Marion Browne (Nee Hall), the older daughter of his second marriage to Doreen.  It was published in 2005, has approximately 200 pages, and contains two small black and white photographs of his paintings. One is a self portrait of him as a young man and the other is titled “Europa and the Bull.” Some small family photographs and black and white illustrations are by his daughters.


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