RESPECTED artist and former mayor of Newbury Christopher Hall has died at the age of 85.
The popular painter died last Thursday following complications from a fall at his Newbury home.
He is survived by his wife Maria, their three sons Robert, Anthony and Andrew and eight grandchildren.
Mr Hall had lived in the area most of his life and had gained a reputation both as a talented oil painter and a keen political activist.
After completing his national service in Malaya in the late 1940s, he studied at the Slade School of Art in London during the 1950s, before returning to live in Newbury.
Over the years, the artist, for whom painting was a way of life, held a number of exhibitions of his work, which regularly featured landscapes from all over the world, including Italy, where he met his wife Maria, France, north Wales and his home town of Newbury.
He was elected to the prestigious Royal Society of British Artists in 1988 and the Royal Cambrian Academy in 1994.
Having developed a keen eye for landscapes and architecture, he would often be commissioned to paint buildings and scenes to keep as records for the future.
He maintained a passion for his art right up until his death, with his latest exhibition opening at The Gallery in London just days after he died.
As well as being known for his art, Mr Hall had also developed a reputation in local politics, representing the Liberals on the former Newbury borough and district councils for many years.
He had also served as mayor of Newbury, between 1967 to 1968, when he was just 36-years-old, becoming one of the youngest men to hold the post in the council’s 370-year history.
Remembering his father, Robert Hall said: “He always loved to paint the local areas.
“Inkpen, Enborne, all the areas round and about, just because he loved the place.
“He had grown up there and always had a great affection for it.
Speaking about his political career, Mr Hall added: “I’m sure there will be many people who remember him for his work on the council.
“He was very keen to be involved on the planning and development side of things in terms of protecting the Newbury that he loved.”
West Berkshire Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Judith Bunting said the party was saddened to hear the news of Mr Hall’s death.
She added: “Chris was a staunch local campaigner, always ready to put shoe leather in service of his principles.
“With dry humour and sound advice, he has been a huge support to me since I joined the Liberal Democrats in Newbury.
“Chris was elected as borough councillor five times and mayor of Newbury, back when he was only 36 years old.
“In later years, he often worried about how to get younger people more interested and active in politics.
“As a councillor in the 60s, Chris worked to preserve many of Newbury’s old buildings and was responsible for planting the avenue of poplar trees at Stroud Green.
“Chris will be missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, Maria, and his family.”
Mr Hall’s latest collection of work is currently on show at the Small Paintings Group Exhibition at The Gallery in London until Sunday.