Painter. Popular in his day as a leading still life specialist, he nevertheless devoted much of his career to figurative work. He often painted picturesque genre scenes inspired by extensive travels in Europe and the Mediterranean. As a still life painter, he is known particularly for elaborate fruit and flower arrangements set on shiny table tops, but in the 1860s particularly, he sometimes placed his subjects in informal outdoor settings, reflecting a Pre-Raphaelite approach. Hall was probably born in Manchester, New Hampshire, although it is possible that he was a native of Boston, where he began to paint as a teenager. In 1849 he traveled to Düsseldorf with Eastman Johnson. There he studied at the academy for a year before proceeding to Paris and then to Rome, living in each city for approximately a year. He returned in 1852 to settle permanently in New York, although he sojourned frequently in Europe for another four decades. The polished technique he had mastered abroad emphasized descriptive detail, warm and harmonious tonalities, and rigorously organized compositions unified by light and atmosphere. In still lifes he commonly deployed these skills to render textural variety within complex arrangements of varied natural specimens, played off against the harder surfaces of furniture, serving dishes, and decorative objects.