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Ella Hallward, Edward Heron–Allen & H.S. Nichols

August 30, 2022

Ella Hallward (1866-1948) is a little known female artist who was active for a short period between around 1890 to 1902. Bob Forrest has been researching her life and work, including her links with the polymath and Persian scholar Edward Heron-Allen, and with the publisher H S Nichols.

Rubaiyat enthusiasts will know Hallward’s work through her frontispieces and decorations for two of Heron-Allen’s seminal books, These are his classic study from 1898 The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Being a Facsimile of the Manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, with a Transcript into modern Persian Characters, and the equally important title Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with their Original Persian Sources produced in 1899. H S Nichols was involved with both books, though the second was actually published by Bernard Quaritch, the publisher of Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat editions. Our illustration shows Hallward’s frontispiece for the 1898 book.

Bob has established that, as well as being a professional collaborator of Heron-Allen, Hallward was a personal friend of the scholar and his wife from some time in the 1890’s and travelled with them on holidays on the continent. She also helped to design the intricate book plate produced by Heron-Allen around 1900 (also illustrated here), and Bob explores the puzzle of who actually produced the original Persian calligraphy for the book plate and the decorations of the earlier Heron-Allen book.

The full article detailing Bob Forrest’s research on this artist and her colleagues is available via This contains further information about her life before and after her marriage in 1902, and of the one other book that Hallward is known to have illustrated (The Raven by Samuel Taylor Coleridge), together with many images. He also gives his findings about the career of H S Nichols, who had a somewhat dubious reputation. Altogether this makes a valuable addition to our knowledge of the work on the Rubaiyat, and the publishing world, at the turn of the twentieth century. Our thanks to Bob for sharing his research with us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2022 9:56 am

    Fred Diba ( has sent the following comment.

    Although the English version of the bookplate is “Edward and Marianna Heron-Allen”, the Persian is only “Edward Heron-Allen” (following the Persian letters: “edvard hrn aln”)

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