On the Avon near Bath, circa 1920
James Hill of Bristol
A toned silver print showing an agricultural worker and a horse walking along a path beside the Avon River near Bath. A pencilled inscription verso in the photographer’s hand identifies the location.
James Hill of Bristol was an amateur photographer. According to Ian Sumner, ‘Many of [his] high quality silver prints are either contact prints or enlargements on heavy-weight bromide papers using a wide variety of finishes and tones. […] Some prints were made in carbon; silver prints were often gold or sulphide toned. He made full use of the wide range of papers available in the early part of the 20th century from many different makers with a variety of finish and weight, the majority warm toned. Manufacturers and paper types include: Granville, Illingworth, Kaltona, Kodak Royal, Pall Mall, Reynolds, Wellington and Ward.’
He was probably the Sidney James Hill who died on 5 March 1928. A short obituary appeared in the Western Daily Press (8 March 1938): ‘The death is announced of Mr Sidney James Hill, of Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton, at the age of 84. Mr Hill was managing director for many years of Messrs James Hill and Sons, Ltd., milliners, of Union Street, Bristol, and he had been in the business nearly 70 years, his father and brother also being with the firm during that time. He was a keen member of the Bristol and West of England Photographic Club.’
Born in Bristol in 1853, he appears on the 1911 census living in Redland, Bristol, with his wife Emily Frances Hill, three sons, two daughters and two servants. He gave as his profession ‘Wholesale & Retail Milliner (Dealer).’According to the 1871 census, his father, also James Hill, was a ‘Straw Hat Manufacturer.’
Condition: the print is in excellent condition. The photograph has been printed on heavy-weight, textured photographic paper. Four small deposits of black paper verso at the corners indicate that it was once mounted on a secondary support.
Dimensions: the print measures 5.1” by 9” (13 cm by 23 cm).