Amelia Hill lived from 1820 to 5 July 1904. She was a noted sculptor. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Amelia Paton was born in Dunfermline. Her father was Joseph Paton, a textile designer, and Catherine MacDiarmid, a collector of folklore. Despite the fact that her brothers Joseph and Waller went on to become painters, Amelia's upbringing had little to offer in the way of artistic inspiration, and her education largely came from governesses employed for the job. Over time she developed a largely self-taught interest in sculpture. In 1859, at the age of 39, she moved to live with her two brothers in Edinburgh and the following year she exhibited publicly for the first time when two of her busts appeared at the Royal Scottish Academy.
In 1862, Amelia became the second wife of the celebrated artist and early photographer David Octavius Hill. The two worked closely together until his death in 1870 and over the following years Amelia would display some 60 of her works, usually portraits, at the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Glasgow Institute. A number of her works can be seen today in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. As Amelia's work became more widely recognised, she began to receive commissions for monumental work, the most notable being the statue of David Livingstone in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens.
Because she was a woman, Amelia was excluded from membership of the Royal Scottish Academy. She responded by, in 1877, helping establish the Albert Institute in Edinburgh's Shandwick Place, as an artistic institution that did not discriminate on grounds of gender. Throughout her life, Amelia pursued a wide range of interests, extending beyond sculpture to include botany, phrenology and archaeology. She died in 1904.