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Derek Hill, British, 1916-2000
Title: Tory Gully (Landscape of the Donegal Coast)
Date: 1962
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Presented, The Derek Hill Foundation, 2017
Object Number: NGI.2017.51
DescriptionDerek Hill first visited the north-west of Ireland in 1949, at the behest of Henry P. McIlhenny. McIlhenny, an American who Hill had met in Rome in the 1930s, invited the artist to Donegal to paint his portrait. Through him, Hill developed a lifelong affection for the place and its landscape, and gained an introduction to a wide and sophisticated social circle.
In 1954, after a protracted period of uncertainty, Hill established his own foothold in Donegal by buying a house called St Columb’s. An early nineteenth-century rectory that had more recently been used as a fishing hotel, it located about two miles from the village of Churchill, adjacent to McIlhenny’s property and overlooking a lake.
Hill had been travelling to Donegal for five years before he visited Tory Island, but from that point on it became a regular retreat. He loved its remoteness and barrenness, the wildness of the conditions that prevailed there, and the dark expanses of the Atlantic. For many years, he rented a small, crude, but storm-proof telegraph lookout hut that sat at the top of cliffs that fell precipitously to the sea. Tory Gully depicts these cliffs.
ProvenancePresented, the Derek Hill Foundation, 2017