Thomas Hearne

British painter and engraver (1744 - 1817)

Thomas Hearne was an English painter and engraver. He studied printmaking under the landscape engraver William Woollett from 1765 to 1771, whilst also exhibiting his watercolours at the Free Society of Artists and the Society of Artists. He abandoned engraving in 1771 to accompany Sir Ralph Payne to the Leeward Islands, returning home in 1775. Following this trip, his focus became British topography. He travelled widely in England, Scotland and Wales with Sir George Beaumont, and provided 84 drawings from these excursions which were engraved by William Byrne and published as The Antiquities of Great Britain in 1778–81. This series set new standards in the pictorial recording of medieval architecture. Hearne also provided drawings for etchings of landscapes and ‘rural sports’.

Hearne typically produced wash or subdued watercolours which were painted over fine by clear outlines made by pencil, pen or brushpoint. His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1785-1793. Loyal collectors of Hearne’s work included Dr Thomas Monro, who displayed the works in his London home. These were subsequently copied by younger artists such as Thomas Girtin and Turner.

Hearne’s tinted drawings remained precise and judicious until his death in 1817.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
    Artist/maker
  • Nationality
    British
  • Born
    1744-09-22
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Wiltshire: Brinkworth
  • Died
    1817-04-13
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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