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James John Hill VPSBA (1811-1882)

James John Hill, VPSBA (1811-1882)

Skilled in a range of subjects, including portraits and landscapes, James John Hill became particularly identified with picturesque rural genre scenes, often featuring pretty young peasant women.

James John Hill was born in Broad Street, Birmingham, the second of six children of Daniel Hill, plater, and Elizabeth (née Rowlinson), the daughter of a brass founder. He was named after his godfather, the artist, John James Masquerier, who was a friend of his father. His elder brother, Daniel Rowlinson Hill, became an architect based in Birmingham, while his cousin, the lock and safe manufacturer, Daniel Rowlinson Ratcliff, became a Liberal MP.

Hill attended Hazelwood School, Edgbaston, which was founded by the educational reformer, Rowland Hill. He then studied art under Vincent Barber at Joseph Barber’s academy in Great Charles Street, alongside Thomas Creswick and Frederick Henry Henshaw, among others. It has been suggested that he also took lessons from the landscape painter, David Cox, and even that he was related to him (see Thomas B Brumbaugh, ‘A New Look at David Cox’,
Southeastern College Art Conference Review, 1966, page 8).

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