Alderman T. Rowley Hill (1816–1896), MP

Date: c.1881

Medium: Oil on canvas

Measurements: H 250 x W 144 cm (E)

Artist: Frank Holl (1845 – 1888)

Work type: Painting

Acquisition method: commissioned for the Guidhall and paid for by public subscription, 1881

Thomas Rowley Hill (1816-96) was born in Stourport and was educated at University College, London. He took up residence in Worcester when he became a partner in the firm Hill Evans, and Williams and remained in the City for the rest of his life. His firm eventually called “Hill Evans and Company”, rapidly expanded producing a range of British wines and vinegar from extensive works in Lowesmoor. Hill’s commercial success was unselfishly shared with the citizens of Worcester, and large sums of money were distributed to many Institutions, including Worcester’s first Public Library and Museum, which opened in 1879.

Hill was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Worcester from 1874 to 1885. At a public meeting in 1881, it was resolved that a portrait of Thomas Rowley Hill be commissioned for the Guildhall and paid for by public subscription. The artist chosen to carry out the commission – Frank Holl – was one of the most successful and sought-after portraitists of the day. His portraits, painted in strong black and brown tones with dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, clearly show the influence of 17th-century Dutch painting, especially the work of Rembrandt.

Location: Guildhall Ground Floor – Lower Hall