Bewitching linesman

Vogue darling Luke Edward Hall has a Picasso-like versatility, gift for drawing and love of neoclassical beauty.

There are few media that have not been touched by English painter/designer Luke Edward Hall’s draftsmanship, at once playful and neoclassical. 

Wine labels for a limited edition of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Good Ordinary Claret that depict a red-haired Dionysus crowned with grapes and framed by the Greek key pattern. Dinnerware inspired by ancient Greek heroes exhibited at the David Gill Gallery. An ad campaign for Burberry drawn from Mario Testino’s photography. An exhibit staged for Christie’s and a photo shoot styled for its Interiors magazine. Collections of notecards, notebooks and invitations for Papier. An illustrated guidebook for the Parker Palm Springs hotel. Embroidered, jewel-toned, limited edition velvet slippers for Stubbs & Wootton.

“I like drawing beautiful things, beautiful people,” Hall told The Guardian.

And how. So much so that Vogue has hailed the bespectacled, argyle-clad millennial as a “wunderkind,” while other fans have drawn comparisons to an equally protean artist, Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso analogy is telling. Like the Spanish legend, Hall has a gift for bewitching line and a love of the Greco-Roman figure — in Hall’s case the male figure but then, as a 2011 Bruce Museum exhibit of “Picasso’s Vollard Suite: The Sculptor’s Studio” illustrated, Picasso was equally at ease in depicting Apollonian and Herculean nudes as he was the female body.

Hall’s use of line — as evinced in his plate capturing Ganymede, Zeus’ cupbearer, and cocktail table featuring Antinous, the Roman emperor Hadrian’s lover — is more loosey-goosey and homoerotic. But it has the same antecedents as Picasso’s and the same far-shooting objective. Just as Picasso — who worked in everything from paints to ceramics to tapestries and stage sets — wouldn’t be limited by medium, neither has Hall. (Another connection between the two: Hall is a big fan of the versatile 1920s, when Picasso did many of his neoclassical figures.)

Growing up in Basingstoke, Hampshire, the oldest child of a father who worked in finance and a stay-at-home mother, Hall created a fanzine called Cake, containing photographs, articles and sketches by friends. London was the next logical step. He graduated from Central Saint Martins there, studying menswear design and selling antiques online, then worked for two years for architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath.

In autumn of 2015, Hall went out on his own, establishing a studio in Camden where he shares a bright, bold, eclectic apartment with his partner, designer Duncan Campbell. Soon after, Hall — who primarily draws and paints, using a variety of materials — began experimenting with pottery. He works with a Scottish ceramicist who creates pieces for him to paint, selling his drawings, paintings and hand-painted ceramics at Liberty in London and collaborating with Alex Eagle Studio on a line of plates and platters.

While many of the companies Hall has designed for are tonier than thou, his dessert plates, pitchers and furnishings have also appeared in Anthropologie.

As he told The Guardian: “Someone might buy a drawing from me for a few hundred pounds or more, but I really like that I also make plates that are 30 pounds or 80 pounds.”

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