|more than an art museum|
Howard Hinton (1867-1948) was born in England and came to Australia at the turn of the century.
He joined the shipping industry and worked his way from clerk to a member of the company board.
Soon after his arrival in Sydney he began to collect art and to be involved with artists.
The extent of his participation was recognised in his appointment as a trustee of the [National] Art Gallery of NSW in 1919 and in his receiving the Society of Artists Medal in 1932.
Hinton was a single man with no relatives in Australia, and he lived in a 10 x12 foot room in a boarding house in Cremorne. The room was not big enough to house his growing art collection.
He sought a worthy public institution and, through contacts, his attention was directed to the newly opened Armidale Teachers' College in northern New South Wales.
Hinton sent his paintings to Armidale in 1929. A few more followed. Then, in 1933, he decided to create the best collection of art in a regional area. From that year until his death in 1948 he sent over 1000 works of art to their new home.
The collection covers most oeuvres of art in Australia in the period 1880 to 1948, and it is a collection clearly shaped by Hinton's obsession and unbound pleasure in finding, buying, and at regular periods, passing on the treasures.
He bought art from commercial galleries, dealers and often directly from artists whom he grew to know well. He also donated a library of art books.
The collection reflects Hinton's early love for Victorian travel paintings as well as his respect for the conventions of Australian landscape art, and it includes works by most of the Australian artists.
The collection includes paintings by William Dobell, Adrian Feint, Elioth Gruner, Hans Heysen, J.J. Hilder, Gladys Owen, Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Tom Roberts, Ethel Spowers, Arthur Streeton and the Lindsay family.