Love of the sea – The smart collector


With the acquisition of masterpieces by artists such as Montague Dawson and Franz Richard Unterberger, Fort Worth entrepreneur Kenneth Hill turned his love of water into a life of collector.


Featuring the ownership of the estate of
Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.

June 4, 2021
Featuring the ownership of the estate of
Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.

June 22, 2021
Michelle castro
[email protected]

Kenneth hill

Hill was born in Cisco, Texas to a family of third generation breeders and was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He has spent over 35 years developing software and services for the pharmaceutical industry. His homes in Fort Worth and Miami were adorned with antique furniture and marine-style paintings that he collected over the years.

Hill brought the sea to his lavish Fort Worth estate – outfitting his great hall with various models of ancient ships. Perfect complements to his models were the equally stunning paintings he acquired over the years, including oil on canvas by Montague Dawson. Night suspect.

“Hill’s discerning collector’s eye sought out rarely seen objects outside of institutions,” says Michelle Castro, Director of Trusts and Estates at Heritage Auctions. “Her taste was impeccable and now her collection is ready for a whole new generation of connoisseurs.”

The son of a naval captain, Montague Dawson served in the Royal Navy during World War I and was an official war artist for a British newspaper during World War II. The piece in Hill’s collection depicts a dramatic pursuit by the British Coast Guard, firing at suspected smugglers in the English Channel.


Oil Painting - Night Suspect

Montague Dawson (1895-1973)
Night suspect, 1958
Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 in.
Owned by the estate of Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.
Estimate: $ 150,000 – $ 250,000


Compositions showing a perspective on board a ship are rare, and there are fewer than six works by Dawson known that present such a precise view of the action on deck. Additionally, none of these other bridge scenes show a ship engaged in a chase, firing cannons. With this captivating choice of perspective, Dawson draws attention not only to the harsh realities of life on the water, but also to the power and often dangerous beauty of the wide open ocean.


Oil painting - High channel

Montague Dawson (1895-1973)
Rising chain
Oil on canvas, 20 x 30¼ in.
Owned by the estate of Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.
Estimate: $ 40,000- $ 60,000


This flagship work by Dawson was an obvious choice by the artist for an exhibition in the Guildhall, London of the Royal Society of Marine Painters in 1958. A precisionist in all respects, Dawson interviewed officers and crew, some of whom provided their supplies. own sketches and notes from which he recreated an accurate visual record. The artist went through a work, starting from sketches, models and preliminary paintings, to finally end up with one of his masterpieces.

In addition to this excellent work, Heritage is offering two other maritime paintings by Montague Dawson from the Ken Hill estate at its June 4 European art auction.

Félix Ziem’s ​​painting Gondaliers at the Quai d’Esclavons offers a much more serene interpretation of life on the water. The French artist has made a specialty of the Venetian scenes he painted outside, often renting a gondola and anchoring it in a canal. Compared to his contemporaries, Ziem’s ​​style was much more free, brushed, and atmospheric, seeking to capture the flickering interplay of light and breeze on the water and its dazzling reflections on the architecture of the floating city.


Oil painting - Gondoliers

Félix Ziem (1821-1911)
Gondoliers at the Quai d’Esclavons, Venice, circa 1865
Oil on panel, 20¾ x 31½ in.
Owned by the estate of Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.
Estimated amount: $ 50,000 to $ 70,000


Gondaliers at the Quai d’Esclavons is a brooding rendition of the end of the day, depicting a gondola loaded with evening passengers. The deep shadows in the night water contrast with the luminescent glow of the last hours of the day on the architectural majesty of the Ducal Palace and the domes of the Church of Santa Maria della Salute in the distance. Ziem captured the grandeur of a summer sunset over the Venetian lagoon seen near the Slavonic landings – a spectacular vantage point also favored by other famous Venetians vedute painters, including Franz Richard Unterberger.

Italy at the end of the 19e century was abuzz with foreign visitors; tourists and expatriates. Capitalizing on this fervor, the artists captured everyday scenes of the city for well-to-do travelers to return from their Grand Tour with great memories. Franz Richard Unterberger’s best-known works are colorful views of Venice and Naples, painted in a romantic mist that gives them a lively and vibrant air. To capitalize on the market for these works, Unterberger painted almost exclusively scenes from Italy from 1890 until his death in 1902.

Breathtaking examples of decorative art from the Hill Estate, to be shown on June 18, range from a 20-piece St. Louis Excellence Pattern stemware set (estimate $ 3,000 to $ 5,000) and a superb 202-piece Versace for Rosenthal Porcelain Les Trésors De La Mer Model dinner set for 12, designed in 1996 (estimate $ 5,000 to $ 7,000).


Stemware service

20 pieces St. Louis
Partially gilded and transparent glass
Excellence Pattern stemware set,
France, designed in 1967
Brands: Cristal, St. Louis, France
17¾ ” (largest, decanter)
Owned by the estate of Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.
Estimate: $ 3,000 to $ 5,000



Kenneth Alan Hill Sr. was a man who let his passions dictate what he collected. He passed away on November 23, 2020. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in December 1971. While attending the University of Texas in the late 1960s, Hill discovered the concept that all pharmacies would soon be. controlled by computer systems. . In 1978, Hill was one of only 3% of American pharmacists to adopt the new technology for their pharmacy.


Oil painting - Santa Maria

Franz Richard Unterberger (1837-1902)
Santa Maria della Salute from the Grand Canal
Oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 27 3/8 in.
Owned by the estate of Kenneth Alan Hill Sr.
Estimated amount: $ 30,000 to $ 50,000


His pharmacy in Granbury, Texas has become a meeting place for locals. Hill served on city council before becoming mayor of Granbury while also consulting for the local hospital and local nursing homes. Serving a community of people and recognizing the role pharmacists play in the lives of patients would remain an unwavering engine for Hill, both personally and professionally.

“Ken Hill was truly one of a kind,” said EHR Data Inc., a company founded by Hill, upon his passing in 2020. “His greatest gift to those who loved and cherished him was his time and effort. presence. What a generous man he was. Generosity was in his DNA, and although he had many passions, people were loved by him the most. He came from humble beginnings and learned early on the virtues of discipline, hard work and seriousness and, most importantly, always paying well forward.

This item appears in the June 2021 digital edition of The intelligent collector magazine.

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