British Painter, 1744-1817
English painter and engraver. From 1765 to 1771 Hearne studied printmaking as apprentice to the landscape engraver William Woollett, exhibiting watercolours meanwhile at the Free Society of Artists and the Society of Artists. In 1771 he abandoned engraving and accompanied Sir Ralph Payne to the Leeward Islands (where Payne had just been appointed Governor), returning in 1775; several of his fastidious watercolours of Antigua survive, for example the Court House and Guard House in the Town of St John's in the Island of Antigua (n.d.; London, V&A). From then on British topography was his main concern. He travelled widely in England, Scotland and Wales with Sir George Beaumont and from these excursions was able to provide 84 drawings which, engraved by William Byrne, were published as The Antiquities of Great Britain (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'.