image © Karen Taylor Fine Art | Licence: All Rights Reserved
image © Karen Taylor Fine Art | Licence: All Rights Reserved

St Mary’s Church, Great Dunmow, Essex

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From the Collection


A watercolourist, topographical draughtsman, illustrator and engraver, Hearne began his working life as an apprentice to William Woollett, a printmaker. Hearne had a lifelong interest in architecture, and this delightful bucolic depiction of Great Dunmow church exemplifies his ability to capture a landscape with a delicately limited palette within a Picturesque framework.

From 1771 Hearne spent three years in the Caribbean on the Leeward Islands as draughtsman to Sir Ralph Payne, the Governor. After his return in 1775 Hearne quickly became established as a leading architectural and topographical draughtsman.

The young Turner and Girtin copied Hearne’s work at the home of Dr Thomas Monro, the patron of the arts, where young artists gathered.

Hearne’s work can be found in most public British drawings collection notably the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Academy.

The chancel of St Mary's is early 14th century. The porch, arcade, chancel arch, tower and south chapel were all built in the 15th century and restored in the late 19th-early 20th century. The kiln appears to be a hop kiln with a deflector plate above, but there are contemporary references to five malt houses in Dunmow in 1800 and to many maltsters, although it is not known where they all operated.

With thanks to James Bettley for his comments on this drawing.


Signed and dated l.c.: Hearne.1792

Descriptive medium

Pen and grey ink and watercolour over pencil

Image Licence

Image Credit

image © Karen Taylor Fine Art

From the Watercolour World


St. Mary’s Church, Great Dunmow, Essex, England