Rowland Hilder (b.1905; d.1993)

Referred to as “the Turner of his generation”, Hilder was one of the best known artists of the twentieth century. No other artist ‘is so well remembered for the way he captured completely the essence of our heritage in the English, and most particularly the Kent, countryside. He lived in Blackheath for most of his life when it was a Kentish country village, and frequently stayed for extended periods with his grandparents in Birling, Kent. He studied art at Goldsmith’s College School of Art where he met his wife Edith, with whom he later collaborated with him on many flower and landscape works. Among the numerous books illustrated by Hilder are Moby Dick, Treasure Island and Mary Webb’s Precious Bane.

At the age of eighteen, Hilder’s work was accepted and hung in the RA, London, and went on to exhibit in many country around the world. Hilder produced images for LNER in the interwar years, and was personally commissioned to do work for the MOI by Edwin Embleton. His first one-man exhibition had been held at the Fine Art Society in Bond Street, London in 1939. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1935, becoming President of the Society in 1964. He was also a much admired lecturer at Goldsmiths’ College, the Art Workers’ Guild, The Slade, The Royal School and The Central School, and his book Starting in Watercolours has been translated into many languages and was an international bestseller. He was awarded an OBE in 1986, and in 1988 was still much in demand, reaching an even wider public through etchings and two successful books Rowland Hilder’s England and Rowland Hilder Country. Sir Hugh Casson, Former President of the RA described his style and technique as ‘so recognisable that there are parts of England which, in tribute to his skill, seem to have grown physically like his paintings’. In the 1950s, Roland Hilder (sic) was represented by Artist Partners, Ltd.

Information collated from: Norden, G. ‘RCJ Articles’,, written September 10 2002, accessed October 3 2003; Questionnaire submitted by Royall, K. to Embleton, E., Royall, K., ‘Posters of the Second World War: The Fourth Arm of British Defence’, Unpublished M.A., University of Westminster, 1991, p.123; Goldsmith & Bate Ltd., ‘Rowland Hilder’,, accessed October 3 2003.; Artist Partners, ‘ap retro’,, accessed August 28 2003.

By Second World War Posters

Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.