William Hole

(c. 1554—1624) engraver

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William Hole (1846—1917) painter and etcher


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(b before 1600; d 1624). English engraver. He was an accomplished engraver by 1607, as can be seen in his title page for a new edition, published in London, of the ‘Breeches Bible’ first published in Geneva in 1560. This exuberant design suggests that Hole was familiar with contemporary French work, although many of his portraits are nevertheless dreary and provincial. Hole's principal contribution to the art of engraving in England is to be found in the rare score book Parthenia, or the Maydenhead of the First Musicke that ever was Printed for the Virginalls (1612; example London, BL), which contains music by William Byrd, Dr John Bull and Orlando Gibbons. This is the first example in England of intaglio engraving on copperplate being used to print music, which hitherto had been carried out by means of movable type or blocks. Other work Hole undertook about this time includes the title page for Thomas Coryat's Crudities (1611), a popular travelogue, a Map of Virginia based on information and designs supplied by Captain John Smith, and a series of maps for Michael Drayton's massive topographical poem Polyolbion (1612, 1622). Additional literary works for which he supplied engravings include the title page for Ben Jonson's Workes (1616) and a frontispiece portrait bust of the poet and translator George Chapman for his Whole Works of Homer (1616). In 1618 Hole was appointed chief engraver for the Mint in London, a post he retained until his death; English coinage stamped during this period is of modest quality. There are examples of Hole's work as a line-engraver in the British Museum, London.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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