London from Greenwich
Coloured etching and engraving
- About the work
About the artist
The printmaker, William Ellis, was the son of an engraver of writing, Joseph Ellis (died 1793). William was born in London and apprenticed to his father’s stationary company from about the age of 13. He later worked in the studio of the printmaker William Woollett (1735–1785). In 1785 he married Elizabeth Smith, also a printmaker, who may have been related to fellow pupil of Woollett, Samuel Smith (c.1809-1879). The couple frequently worked on projects together, including Aiken’s ‘Description of the Country… Round Manchester’. Elizabeth Ellis had already died when William passed away in 1810. An engraving ‘by the late Mr William Ellis’, showing a view of Exeter, was published to raise money for the couple’s five orphaned children.
Thomas Hearne was born at Brinkworth, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. He was apprentice to the engraver William Woollett, and became a watercolourist, mostly of topographical views. In 1771 he went to the Leeward Islands with the Governor-General Sir Ralph Payne, and stayed for three and a half years. His most important work was in conjunction with the engraver William Byrne, with whom he produced ‘The Antiquities of Great Britain’ between 1777 and 1781, and many of the plates for ‘Britannia Depicta’ between 1806 and 1818. His early work shows the influence of Paul Sandby, and he was in turn to influence the early styles of Thomas Girtin and J. M. W. Turner.