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Hal Hurst RBA RI (1865-1938)


Henry William Lowe Hurst, RBA RI VPRMS ROI (1865-1938), known as Hal Hurst

Hal Hurst rose to fame as an illustrator on both sides of the Atlantic early in his career, before he turned to painting and particularly portraiture, as well as genre scenes. Maintaining a versatility of approach and medium, he worked in oil, watercolour and etching, and on a variety of scale, from life size to miniature. He helped found the Royal Society of Miniature Painters and served as its first Vice-President.

Hal Hurst was born in London on 26 August 1865, the eldest son of Henry Hurst, the African traveller and publisher of the firm of Hurst & Blackett. He was educated at St Paul’s School, and implies in his entry in
Who Was Who that his earliest art education was with ‘Friedlanders’ and the ‘Army and Navy Tutor, the Rev Robert Palmer’. He began his career in 1888, at the age of 23, when he visited Ireland to record the mass evictions of struggling tenant farmers in the wake of the potato famine.

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