Howard Hinton (1867-1948) was born in England and came to Australia at the turn of the century.The very definition of a ninteenth century "self-made man", he worked his way from clerk to member of the board in a large shipping concern.
Apparently a bachelor all his life, his circle of friends included many artists. As soon as he could afford it he began to collect art, thereby becoming very well known in Sydney's art community; in 1919 was appointed as a trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
When his own very spartan single room became too small to house his collection, he went looking for a "worthy public institution". Apparently finding what he sought in the Armidale Teachers' College. He began to send his paintings there.
In 1933 he announced to his friends that he had decided to stop toying with collection as a hobby, and to create a very significant collection; a legacy. From that time until the end of his life he sent over 1000 works of art north, overflowing the walls of the Teacher's College and leading them to send many works to storage.
In 1983, when the New England Regional Art Museum was opened, part of its reason for existance was to house "The Hinton Collection" as it was now known in its entirity. Expressing Hinton's passions, the collection is focused around Australian landscape art and Victorian travel paintings. The collection includes paintings by a veritable who's who of these genres, including 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.