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Sir Rowland Hill (1795-1879), Postal reformer and civil servant; initiator of the Penny Post

Sitter in 7 portraits
Sir Rowland Hill came from a family of progressive educationalists, and in 1819 he helped his family to establish a school in Edgbaston based on the ideals of representative democracy and competitive capitalism. In 1837 Hill formulated a set of proposals for postal reform, published as Post Office Reform: its Importance and Practicability. He argued that the existing system was too complicated and hindered the expansion of trade and ideas. Hill suggested a uniform postage rate irrespective of distance that was paid in advance by the sender, not the recipient, and proposed a device that became known as the postage stamp. Hill's ideas were implemented in 1840, propelling him from relative obscurity to being a nationally-known figure.

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838

Sir Rowland Hill

by John Alfred Vinter, after Maull & Polyblank
oil on canvas, circa 1879 (published April 1857)
NPG 838

D35836

Sir Rowland Hill

by (Isaac) Weld Taylor, printed by Hullmandel & Walton, published by Joseph Hogarth
lithograph, mid 19th century
NPG D35836

D35835

Sir Rowland Hill

by William Overend Geller, printed by S.H. Hawkins, published by and after Abraham Wivell Jr
mezzotint, published 1 May 1848
NPG D35835

D35837

Sir Rowland Hill

printed by M & N Hanhart, published by John Alfred Vinter, after Maull & Fox
lithograph, published 1 November 1879 (published April 1857)
NPG D35837

Ax7310

Sir Rowland Hill

by Maull & Polyblank
albumen print, arched top, published April 1857
NPG Ax7310

Ax38760

Sir Rowland Hill

by Unknown photographer
albumen print, early 1860s
NPG Ax38760

Ax68160

Sir Rowland Hill

by William Walker & Sons
albumen carte-de-visite, 1862-1866
NPG Ax68160