From the beginning of May, the Granary Art Gallery will host a small exhibition about Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill of Hawkstone and Almarez, to whom the Hon. Orlando Bridgeman was ADC, and his legacy.
The focus of the exhibition will be the loan of the important prime version 1835 portrait of Hill by George Richmond, which has not been seen in public for many years. A sensitive painting in watercolour, the picture was engraved and is illustrated in Edwin Sidney’s Life of Lord Hill (1845) where Sidney eulogised about the painting:
“The personal appearance of Lord Hill at the latter period of his life is admirably represented in the portrait by Richmond. It is a happy likeness of him as he was seen in those circles where he was best known, during the time he was Commander in Chief, and it is also more in unison with the simplicity of his character and taste, than if he had been taken covered with the honours conferred on him for his deeds of arms.”
A less finished preliminary version of the picture of 1834, also by Richmond, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Also shown with the painting will be a less reverent satirical cartoon work by “Paul Pry”, the pseudonym of artist William Heath (1794-1840) who poked fun at Hill’s abilities in peacetime when Wellington – on becoming Prime Minister – made Hill Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. Popular opinion suggested that Hill was, by comparison to Wellington, a man of straw and so his head is seen emerging from a hillock of straw at Horseguards, with a sign reading ‘This Hill is Temporary and Chiefly composed of loose Stuff so that the Head Gardener can remove it at pleasure’. The ‘Head Gardener’ was Wellington, shown with spade, commenting ‘This will do well enough for the present’.
In tandem with this, children’s cartoon activities will be available, adding to the existing family friendly activities in the Gallery and giving children an opportunity to engage with this important anniversary.
11am – 4pm