Philip Gilbert Hamerton, was an English artist and art critic and author.
He was born at Laneside, a hamlet in Crompton, Lancashire, England. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father died ten years later. When he was about five, he was sent to live with his two aunties, at an estate called the Hollins on the edge of Burnley, where he attended Burnley Grammar School. His first literary attempt, a volume of poems, was unsuccessful, leading him to devote himself for a time entirely to landscape painting; he camped out in the Scottish Highlands, where he eventually rented the former island of Inistrynich in Loch Awe, upon which he settled with his wife, a Frenchwoman, in 1858.
Discovering after a time that he was more suited to art criticism than painting, he moved to the area his wife came from, in France, where he produced his Painter's Camp in the Highlands, which was very successful and prepared the way for his standard work on Etching and Etchers. In the following year he published Contemporary French Painters, and in 1868 a continuation, Painting in France after the Decline of Classicism.
He had by now become art critic to the Saturday Review, which necessitated frequent visits to England, forcing him to give it up. He proceeded to establish an art journal of his own, The Portfolio, a monthly periodical, each number of which consisted of a monograph upon some artist or group of artists, frequently written and always edited by him. The discontinuation of his painting gave him time for writing, and he successively produced The Intellectual Life, perhaps the best known and most valuable of his writings; Round my House, notes on French society by a resident; and Modern Frenchmen, admirable short biographies. He also wrote two novels, Wenderholme and Marmorne.