About George Halse
George Halse was born on 1 May 1826 at 4 Stafford Place, Pimlico, the 8th of 12 children of John Halse and his wife Clarissa Fenwick. of John Halse, the State Page at St. James's Palace, and Clarissa Fenwick. He gained the patronage of William IV for his son George, with the result that the latter was admitted to St Paul's School in 1833 at the request of the monarch. Plans for studying for the church were frustrated by William IV's death and George's schooling ended in 1841.
He joined Drummond's Bank at Charing Cross in December 1846 and worked there until his death in 1895. In 1849 George Halse married Matilda Lydia Davis, whose father Thomas was adjutant of His Majesty’s royal bodyguard at St James’s Palace. They had four children together: William George (born 1850), who was educated to become an engineer, but actually worked as a clerk at Drummonds 1867-74, before training for the Anglican ministry and serving as vicar of Bridlington Katherine (born 1851), who became a teacher at one of Lord Shaftesbury’s ragged schools Emmeline (1853-1930), who became a sculptor Edward (born 1854), who became a mining geologist and was the author of a dictionary of Spanish and Portuguese mining and metallurgical terms
The family lived at 5 St Ann’s Villas, Kensington until around 1865 when they moved to a newly-built semi-detached house at 15 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill. By 1887 Halse had also leased the adjoining 13 Clarendon Road, to the rear of which he built a studio.
Artistic interests Despite Halse's career at the bank, where he eventually became Chief Clerk (or manager) in 1891, he was a prolific sculptor, producing about ninety works. He also published novels, verse romances, occasional poems and a manual of sculpture, A Guide to Modelling, which went into many editions and was still in print c.1920. His verse romance Sir Guy de Guy was a collaboration with his friend, Hablot Knight Browne (1815–1882) better known as Phiz and for his work illustrating Charles Dickens' novels. From 1857 until the early 1890s George exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and also at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Manchester City Art Gallery, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.
By November 1895 Halse had been given medical advice to retire, but he believed he was still fit for work. He was keen to complete 50 years’ service with the bank, a milestone he was only one year short of reaching. The following month, however, Halse died, possibly a casualty of a contagious illness that seems to have struck Messrs Drummond’s staff at around that time.
Halse’s widow Matilda died just 3 months later. Their gravestone in Kensington Cemetery was decorated with an angel sculpted by their daughter Emmeline.