William Brassey Hole

1846 - 1917

Painter and illustrator. Born in Salisbury (England), his mother came to Edinburgh after his father died in 1849. Hole was educated at Edinburgh Academy and took an engineering apprenticeship. However he wanted to become an artist, and travelled in Italy in 1869 before gaining entrance to the Royal Scottish Academy, where he undertook a formal training. His subjects tended to be historical or industrial, with some of his best works in public collections. After Flodden, Queen Mary's First Farewell to Scotland, 1548, News of the Accession of James VI to the Throne of England, 1603, The Signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Churchyard, 1638 and Prince Charles Edward Stuart in Edinburgh, 1745 are all in the City Art Centre (Edinburgh). Other important works include a mural in entrance hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which includes a procession of notables from Scotland's past, and a number of other murals in the same building, including The Mission of St Columba to the Picts A.D. 563, The Landing of St Margaret at Queensferry A.D. 1068, The Defeat of Hako King of Norway by Alexander III at Largs A.D. 1263 and Bannockburn A.D. 1314. He also produced an etching of Robert Burns (1759-96) for a centenary edition of the poet's works.

Hole travelled to the Holy Lands c. 1900 and many of his subsequent works were biblical. He produced more than eighty watercolours that appeared as illustrations in his book The Life of Jesus of Nazareth, published 1908. He illustrated books by authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) and J.M. Barrie (1860 - 1937).

Hole died in Edinburgh and lies buried in Grange Cemetery.

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