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Colin Gill (1892-1940)

Decorative and genre painter, born in Bexley Heath, Kent. He was a cousin of the sculptor and printmaker Eric Gill. He studied at the Slade School, and in 1913 won a scholarship to the British School at Rome. His scholarship was interrupted by the First World War: he served in France 1915-18 and was appointed an Official War Artist. From 1922-25 he was a member of staff at the Royal College of Art. He died in South Africa in 1940, while working on a series of murals for the Magistrates Court in Johannesburg. His work is held in the Tate Gallery and the Imperial War Museum.

Gill can lay claim both to being the first painter to win a scholarship to the British School at Rome and to have produced its most iconic image: Allegory, 1921. He also started the fruitful tradition of scholars taking up residence in the small village of Anticoli Corrardo, just south of Rome, during the hot summer months. However, like many of the Rome Scholars who came after him, there is a sense that Gill never fulfilled the remarkable promise of his early work. After returning from Italy his paintings appear to be caught uncomfortably between two desires: on one hand, to continue in the nineteenth-century tradition in which he had been trained, and, on the other, to embrace something more contemporary and avant-garde. He was a keen photographer and also a novelist.

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Artist Colin Gill: Portrait of Winnifred Knights, 1921
Colin Gill
Portrait of Winnifred Knights, 1921  Privately held 
Artist Colin Gill: Soldiers Laying Telephone Wire, 1918
Colin Gill
Soldiers Laying Telephone Wire, 1918  Privately held 
Artist Colin Gill: Allegory, 1920-1921
Colin Gill
Allegory, 1920-1921  Privately held 
Artist Colin Gill: Kerry Flute Player, circa 1934
Colin Gill
Kerry Flute Player, circa 1934  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: Colin GillSelf Portrait (?) 1913
Colin Gill
Colin GillSelf Portrait (?) 1913  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: Colour Study, circa 1913
Colin Gill
Colour Study, circa 1913  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: Study for ‘The Kerry Flute Player’, 1934
Colin Gill
Study for ‘The Kerry Flute Player’  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: View from the artists billet, Arras, 1918
Colin Gill
View from the artist's billet  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: Portrait of Winifred Knights reading, circa 1921
Colin Gill
Portrait of Winifred Knights reading  Sold 
Artist Colin Gill: Study for LAllegro, circa 1920
Colin Gill
Study for L'Allegro, circa 1920  Sold