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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Emmeline Halse (1853–1930)

Sculptor born in Bayswater, London, a daughter of George Halse, also a sculptor. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to 15 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, where her father built a sculpture studio which he encouraged his daughter to use. After learning the basics with her father, Halse studied, from 1876 to the early 1880s at the RA Schools, where, in 1877, 1878 and 1880, she won silver medals and in 1883 a second prize of £10 for a model of a design – this despite her training being restricted to copying from plaster casts of classical sculpture, owing to the exclusion of women students from the life classes until 1903. Following the RA Schools, Halse went to Paris, where she studied under the neo-classical sculptor, Frédéric Louis Désiré Bogino. At some time during the 1880s or ’90s (perhaps in Paris), Halse met her close friend the painter Helen Trevor, whose letters to her she published – after Trevor’s death – as Ramblings of an Artist (1901). Halse exhibited regularly at the RA (32 pieces from 1878 to 1920), Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (22 pieces) and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (12 pieces), plus the Paris Salon (four pieces). Most of her works were small-scale domestic subjects or portraits; her most significant work, the reredos, 1889–90, for the Church of St John the Evangelist, Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, she carried out without payment.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 239–41; E. Farningham, Emmeline Halse, Sculptor 1853–1930, 2002 (unpublished; National Art Library, ref. 608.AD.0307); ‘Halse, Emmeline’, King’s College London: Victorian LivesMapping Sculpture.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022