Nell Hill (1910-2017)

Bridgeman is sad to announce the death of our friend and represented artist, Nell Hill. At the grand age of 106, Nell was Europe’s oldest living artist.  It has been an honour to have her and her stunning collection of botanical works with us since the early days of Bridgeman Images.

Born in 1910, Nellie Irene Hill was born sixth of eight children.  Aged fifteen, she won a scholarship to Dudley School of Arts & Crafts and studied a three year comprehensive course which included embroidery from her own designs, jewellery, painting on wooden articles and embossed leatherwork.  When the general depression came in 1926, she was compelled to leave art school and studied as a shorthand typist.  After a 30 year break, she picked up painting again in the 1960’s.  Nell sold her watercolours of flowers, autumn foliage and Peter Rabbit prints worldwide.

Long tailed tit and cherry blossom (w/c on paper), Nell Hill (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

Long tailed tit and cherry blossom (w/c on paper), Nell Hill (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

In tribute to her mother, Nell’s daughter Barbara said this:

Nell had a long and inspirational life which many people, all over the world, will recognise in her watercolour paintings.  When she considered she wasn’t able to paint (at 104 years) she took on a different discipline – writing about her life in poetic form.  Her poems truly are compassionate, moving, memorable …  She was an extremely talented lady who will be deeply missed.”


Bluebell posy with cowslips, dogroses and lily, Nell Hill (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

Bluebell posy with cowslips, dogroses and lily, Nell Hill (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

In honour of the late, great artist here is one of poems which reflects her love of nature and all things botanical:

A walk in the woods

I love to stroll in the woods nearby
At a slower pace as the years pass by
Find out what nature still has in store
You’ll be surprised more and more.

No need to hurry, forget your worry
I can still see the sky
Through the trees so high
But soon it will be a canopy of
green, bye and bye.

Is it too early for daffodils, I ponder
I think that’s a shade of blue over yonder
And this is where there used to be
An enormous patch of wood anemone.
Sparkling white, like stars shining bright ~
A lovely sight.

Oh dear, what have we here?
The Japanese knotweed rearing its head.
It came from abroad and now, it is said
It’s costing many millions, hoping it’s dead.
The Dog Mercury will soon spread.

Look over there, a speck of blue ~
A beautiful Forget-me-not or two.
Take a deep breath, there’s Garlic somewhere.
The scent alone will guide you, so beware.

My favourite is the Wood Sorrel.
It likes damp places, but you have to bend down
to see those sweet little faces.
I can see Foxgloves are beginning to appear
And that looks like Honeysuckle
creeping over there.

So when you’re out walking, don’t look
straight ahead.
You’ll be very surprised where you are
going to tread.
Of course, there’s always the blackbird ~
He nests there rain or shine
And tells me, you’d better get back to lunch ~
It’s very nearly time.

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