Derek Hill CBE (LI 1930-33)

Derek Hill was taught art at the College by Head of Art, Christopher Hughes (CR 1919-45).  He left at 16 to pursue a career in the arts and by 1936 was working as a theatre designer in Germany and Russia. Just before the outbreak of the Second Word War, Hill decided to devote his skill and energies to becoming a portrait painter.

Hill began to enjoy increased success in the 1960’s; his subjects included notable composers, poets, musicians, politicians and statesmen, such as fellow Marlburian Sir John Betjeman (B2 1920-25), Lord Mountbatton, Sir Anthony Eden and His Royal Highness King Charles.

Charles sat for him twice, once in 1971 during his undergraduate years at Trinity College Cambridge and again in 1984 when Hill completed a Hogarth-style drawing of his head in oils, of which Hill said, ‘I hope this picture conveys his warm, sensitive and understanding humanity; a concern and interest in whatever he undertakes.’

Known as ‘the last of the gentleman painters’ most people who sat for Hill were charmed by his ability to paint and converse at the same time. Charles was no exception and a reciprocal admiration developed.

Charles’ love of art was fostered by his art master at Gordonstoun and he found private expression for his love of the countryside though the medium of watercolour painting. He chose Derek Hill as one of the leading artists to receive tuition from during the 1970s and 80s and together they examined many landscapes. Latterly Derek was best known in Ireland for his remote landscapes of the western coastline shown above. Derek returned to Marlborough to visit the Art School in 1995.