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William Henry Gill
Dates: British, 1839 - 1923
Biographical Account:

William Gill was born in Sicily and grew up on the Isle of Man, where he became clerk at the General Post Office. He followed many of John Ruskin’s ideals, some of which come through in his life’s aim of ‘link[ing] Manxmen with their past, that they may the better face their future. To make clear to them that, just as Mann has a past of which all Manxmen may be proud, so she ought to have a future of a self-respecting character, and a duty to preserve her nationality’ (Isle of Man Times, 1823).


Later he moved to London to work at the General Post Office. Nevertheless, Gill spent as much time as possible gathering traditional songs from the Isle of Man and writing accompaniments and harmonies for them. Many of these were published in books such as Manx National Music, which appeared in 1896.


As an amateur artist, Gill enjoyed making landscape studies of the Isle of Man. He donated his set of cherry studies to the Ruskin Collection in about 1894. Gill, as a follower of Ruskin, helped found the first ‘Ruskin Society’ in London, and became honorary secretary of it.

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