Rowland Hilder OBE PPRI RSMA 1905-1993 was one of the country's best known artists of the 20th Century. There is certainly no artist who is so well remembered for the way he captured completely the essence of our heritage in the English, and most particularly the Kent, countryside. He has been referred to as "the Turner of his generation".
He lived in Blackheath for most of his life at the time when it was a Kentish country village, and as a child he frequently stayed for extended periods with his grandparents in Birling, Kent. Much of his painting stems from his love of this part of the country.
He studied art at the Goldsmith's College School of Art, London, where he met his wife Edith who, as well as being a flower painter of some repute, later collaborated with him on many flower and landscape works. Among the numerous books illustrated by Rowland Hilder are "Moby Dick", "Treasure Island" and Mary Webb's "Precious Bane".
At the age of 18, Hilder had work accepted and hung in the Royal Academy, London, and went on to exhibit in many countries around the world. His first one-man exhibition was held at the Fine Art Society in Bond Street, London in 1939.
He was elected a member of The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1935, becoming President of the Society in 1964. He was also a much admired lecturer at Goldsmiths' College, the Art Workers' Guild, The Slade, The Royal School and The Central School, and his book "Starting in Watercolours" has been translated into many languages and was an international bestseller.
He was awarded an OBE in the 1986 New Years honours and in 1988 he was still much in demand and reaching an even wider public through both his etchings and the publication of two highly successful books on his work "Rowland Hilder's England" and "Rowland Hilder Country".
Sir Hugh Casson, Former President of the Royal Academy paid tribute to him thus: "His style and technique are so recognisable that there are parts of England which, in tribute to his skill, seem to have grown physically like his paintings".
Rowland died in 1993.
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