E. M. Hale was born in Hastings, the son of a doctor, and studied painting in Paris (1873-75) under Cabanel and Carolus Duran. Two years later, he was a war artist for the Ilustrated London News in the Russo-Turkish war, covering from the Russian side. He lived in London, and then from 1897 in Godalming. After the First World War, he became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and exhibited much with them.
Much of Hale's work, as might be expected, is military - war pictures and scenes of army life. Of more interest to these pages, he also produced a variety of Classical and mythological subjects, often in an Alma Tadema-like fashion, and normally featuring coquettish girls. He also made a speciality of watery scenes showing sweet-looking mermaids awaiting ships of Vikings or Greeks to destroy themselves on submerged rocks. All in the best femme fatale taste.
One of Hale's most important mythological paintings is Psyche at the throne of Venus, in Bournemouth. The gallery in Leeds holds examples of his mermaid pictures, and a genre picture of boys dressed as soldiers called The Drums of the Fore and Aft. Various military pictures by Hale are in the National Army Museum.