A Clue

George Henry Hall

Born: September 21, 1825 in Boston, Massachusetts

Died: February 13,1913 in New York, New York

Most tombstones don’t give up much information about the deceased, save the name, dates of birth and death and sometimes a fraternal association or military service.  But occasionally, if one is observant there is a hint about the person buried beneath the stone. 

In this case, the gravestone of George Henry Hall, in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, tells us about his character with his epitaph, which is not a pedestrian epitaph chosen from a book at the gravestone seller’s business or through a catalog.  It reads, “TRUE, JUST, AND HONORABLE IN ALL RELTATIONS OF LIFE.” 

And, the bronze bas-relief on the face of the stone also gives us a clear image of what Hall looked like.  But, if you look closely at the bottom of the profile, there is a hint as to Hall’s occupation.  There below the bust carved into the bronze is an artist’s palette and paint brush.  George Henry Hall was an artist.  He was considered by many to be one of the best still-life artists of the 19th Century, a genre of paintings which were in vogue at the time.  Hall also painted landscapes, peasants, and figures.  He was well-known and a prolific artist selling more than 1,600 paintings in his lifetime, as well as prints ad sculptures.  Many of his paintings can be viewed in US and European museums.

Hall studied in Germany, Paris, Switzerland, and Rome, but did most of his painting in New York where he had a studio for many years.  While the gravestone doesn’t tell Hall’s whole story, it does give an intriguing clue that will cause some to investigate the man buried below the tombstone.

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