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 Harry Pelling Gill  (1855 - 1916)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Australia      Known for: landscape, interior painting, art education

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Harry Pelling Gill (1855 – 1916)

Primarily an art educator and curator, Gill produced landscape and interior paintings as well as some etchings.

He was born on March 9, 1855, at Brighton, Sussex, England, the son of Alfred Gill and his wife Frances Elizabeth, née Pelling.  Gill studied at the Brighton School of Art, Hove and Sussex Grammar Schools and at South Kensington where he won a scholarship. 

In 1882 Gill was appointed master of the School of Design at Adelaide and held this position for 27 years.  He published The Straight and Crooked Paths of Studentship in 1894.  He was appointed honorary curator of the art gallery of South Australia, and in 1899 visited Europe where, with the assistance of a committee, he spent £10,000 on works of art.   He was also responsible for purchasing works of young Australian artists such as Tom Roberts, Hans Heysen and Frederick McCubbin.  It was generally agreed that very good judgment had been shown in making these purchases. 

Gill was for some time president of the South Australian Society of Arts, and in 1909 was appointed principal and examiner of the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts.  Gill resigned this position on July 1, 1915 on account of ill health, and while on a voyage to England, for reasons of health, died on May 25, 1916. 

Gill had a good reputation as a teacher and lecturer.  He was an Associate of the Royal College of Art, London, and a Freemason.  

Gill's landscapes and some of his interiors show that he was interested in the accurate rendering of light—a rare quality in Adelaide before 1900.   Although he was mainly a water colorist, the Art Gallery of South Australia holds two of his oils and some etchings as well as a number of watercolors.

Sources include:
Australian Dictionary of Biography online

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