The story of Octavia Hill in pictures

[1] This illustration is featured in a new pamphlet about Octavia Hill © Quentin Blake

[1] This illustration is featured in a new pamphlet about Octavia Hill

These insightful illustrations were specially drawn by Quentin Blake for the new collection by think-tank Demos, The Enduring Relevance of Octavia Hill, edited by Samuel Jones, about our founder Octavia Hill.

The following quotations from the collection, along with Quentin Blake's illustrations, pictured above, help to capture the story of Octavia Hill.

[1] Octavia Hill writing a letter

'We too readily sit down, under imperfect or bad conditions instead of setting ourselves to think over what may or may not be done to alter them.'

Octavia Hill, Letter to fellow workers

[2] Octavia Hill with John Ruskin

'I determined to ask him [Ruskin] about whether and how I should try to set down in drawing any of the gloriously wonderful things I see, day after day, in the streets and everywhere, but which depend on expression.'

Octavia Hill, Letter to Miranda Hill

[3] Octavia Hill with a group of Londoners

'I wish we could get the tenants more often into the country. Does it not seem that the quiet influence of nature is more restful to Londoners than anything else?'

Octavia Hill

[4] Octavia Hill looking at a map

'It has come to the point when two peers and a cabinet minister call and consult her in one week.'

Miranda Hill, 1884

[5] Octavia Hill with her 11 snails

'I have usually some flowers; for the ladies are very kind in bringing me them. I have a few poor little plants that I am fond of. Then I have eleven dear little snails. They are such darlings.'

Octavia Hill, Letter to Gertrude

[6] Octavia Hill with two children

'There are indeed many good things in life which may be unequally apportioned and no such serious loss arise; but the need of quiet, the need of air, and I believe the sight of sky and of things growing, seem human needs, common to all men.'

Octavia Hill, More air for London

Read the whole collection of The Enduring Relevance of Octavia Hill