Derek Hill (1916-2000)
b. London [var. Southampton]; independently wealthy, his mother being a member of a Quaker brewing family; OMahony relatives in Wicklow; gravelled to Muscow to study theatrical design, 1936; visited Peking, Bali, Yemen; persuaded by his tutor Edward Molyneaux to abandon stage-design for painting; one man show, London 1943; he was teaching in an English village with Art Council support, c.1944;
came to Ireland in 1949 and settled on West Coast; worked on Achill with Louis le Brocquy; moved to Italy and met Henry McIlhenny, the Tabasco king, who encouraged him to buy St Columbs, a rectory at Lough Gartan, in Churchill, Co. Donegal, close by McIlhennys estate Glenveagh Castle; purchased in 1953; travelled in Turkey with Freya Stark;
crossed to Tory island [Toraigh] and instigated the Tory Island School by encouraging the inhabitants to paint; to paint the surrounding landscape and seascapes; donated his house with its paintings to the Irish State as the Glebe Gallery, 1981;
painted prominent Irishmen incl. Erskine Childers and Garret Fitzgerald, his own classic topographical works incl. Tory Island from Tor More (1958); restrospective in RHA, 1998; honorary citizenship of Ireland conferred, 1999; d. 30 July.
[ top ]
Lord Gray Gowrie, An Appreciation (Quartet hardback [?1995]); interview with Eileen Battersby, Irish Times, Thursday 17 Sept. 1998.
[ top ]
New Writing: Derek Hill contrib. Art in the Village, to The Penguin New Writing, ed. John Lehmann, No. 26 (London: 1945), pp.145-50 [set in England].