Obituary: Rowland Hilder

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MAY I, as the current President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, add a few words to the obituary of Rowland Hilder (by Denis Thomas, 22 April)? writes Ronald Maddox.

He was rather a reticent man, but always ready to talk and discuss painting and printmaking with fellow artists, at one stage holding Master Classes at Blackheath. He was particularly helpful to me in my early career as a painter and illustrator, encouraging me to exhibit with the RI.

He had himself been elected a member of the RI in 1938, becoming Vice-President in 1959, under the then President, Norman Wilkinson, whom he succeeded in 1964, holding the post for 10 years. During this time he was responsible for finding another home for the society when its lease on the original purpose-built galleries in Piccadilly expired. The move to its present base at the Mall Galleries must have involved him in a great deal of negotiation.

Despite failing eyesight more recently, he continued painting for part of each day, overcoming some of his visual problems by working at imperial size on large-scale watercolours, recreating many of the subjects that he had first sketched and painted in earlier years.

To record his long association with the RI, it has been agreed only this week that a sponsored 'Rowland Hilder Award' will be given each year at its exhibition.