Derek Hill was a landscape and portrait painter born in Southampton, England. Hill first began a career in theatre design and then became an historian. His first visit to Ireland was when he went to Donegal to paint a portrait of Henry McIIhenny who was an Irish American art collector. From the 1960’s on wards, Derek improved his skills in portraiture by painting many notable figures.
In 1981, along with an impressive art collection including Picasso and Yeats, Hill donated his home which he had owned since 1954 in Donegal. Now these works and some of his own pieces can be seen in the Glebe Gallery, Letterkenny.
Tory Island became a very popular subject matter for Derek’s landscapes and he even began to teach the local fishermen there how to paint, such as James Dixon. This was all done in a painting hut, which he had for many years.
In 1988, Hill exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and then in 1999 Irish President Mary McAleese made him an honorary Irish citizen.