John William Hill

Born in London, John William Hill was the son of the engraver, John Hill. His family immigrated to the United States in 1819 when John was seven. He was apprenticed to his father in 1822 when his family moved from Philadelphia to New York City. In 1833, by the age of 21, he was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design. Early in his career he was a topographical artist employed by the New York State Geological Survey and later by Smith Brothers of New York City, for whom he made watercolor views of many American cities. By 1855, Hill read John Ruskin’s Modern Painters and became deeply influenced by his aesthetic philosophy. He became involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movement in America and came to be considered one of its leading exponents.A versatile artist, he worked in lithography, aquatint, and watercolor. He made detailed pictures directly from nature, many in watercolor and executed in a stipple technique with tiny brushes normally employed for miniatures. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1829 until his death and also at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1862 until his death.