Tristram Hillier was born in Peking, China in 1905. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 1926 under Henry Tonks and later in Paris under André Lhote. He lived in the South of France until 1940, served in the Royal Navy 1940-43, then settled in Somerset, England.
While living in Paris in the 1920s, Hillier became friends with Max Ernst and other leading Surrealist painters, and their influence was to have a lasting effect on his work. Hillier loved the sea and many of his paintings are of ships and beaches, each painstakingly precise in detail. He was an avid traveller and sketched profusely during his journeys, later constructing paintings from his rough drawings. His use of brilliant light and colour can most likely be traced to his stay in the south of France and his travels through the Mediterranean and Spain.
oil on canvas
60.2 x 80.8 cm stretcher; 77.0 x 98.5 x 7.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., black paint "Hillier./ 1939".
Watson Bequest Fund 1946
Not on display
© Tristram Hillier Estate
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Paintings by Tristram Hillier, Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, London, 07 May 1946–01 Jun 1946
Twenty three British painters: NAGNSW Travelling Art Exhibitions 1953, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1953–1953
Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV: International, Melbourne, 15 Nov 2007–24 Feb 2008
Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Arthur Tooth & Sons 1946
Referenced in 5 publications
Ted Gott, Unknown and Unknown, Modern Britain 1900-1960, Melbourne, 2007, 254 (colour illus.), 256 (colour illus.).
Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 100. cat.no. 965
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 86 (illus.).
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Twenty three British painters, Sydney, 1953, 8. cat.no. 23
Paintings by Tristram Hillier, London, 1946, cover (illus.). cat. no. 22