Antiquities Of Great Britain Illustrated In Views Of Monasteries, Castles, and Churches, Now Existing. Engraved from Drawings made by Thomas Hearne.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Printed by James Phillips, in George-Yard, Lombard-Street, and Published by the Proprietors T. Hearne and W. Byrne., London:: MDCCLXXXVI. (-1807.)

Physical Description

2 vols.; 272×409 mm. (Oblong folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [112] p., frontis. (add. engr. t.-pl.), [51] pl. The Numerical Index lists these as a frontis., 50 pl. and a 'Tailpiece'. Plates 5-8, 19 and 51 do not carry numbers. Pl. 24 is misnumbered 22; 39 is misnumbered 40; 40 is misnumbered 39. - Vol. II: [68] p., [32] pl.


Vol. I: [Frontis. (added engr., t.p.] - Subscribers - A Numerical Index to the Subjects of the Prints in this Volume [listing frontis. pl. I-L, tailpiece] - [Plates, with text]. - Vol. II; [T.p.] - A Numerical Index to the Subjects of the Prints in the Second Volume [listing pl. I-XXXII] - [Plates, with text].

Responsibility Note

The title page of the second volume states that the work was 'Engraved by W. Byrne, F.S.A. from Drawings made by Thomas Hearne, F.S.A.' In both volumes all plates are signed as drawn by T. Hearne (in four cases in the first volume after drawings by others - J. Farrington, E. Edwards and Sir Geo. Beaumont), and most as engraved by William Byrne (in some cases by other engravers - S. Middiman, W. Watts, W. Woollett, M.A. Rooker, T. Hearne, W. Ellis, T. Medland, B.T. Pouncey, J. Sparrow or W. Lowry); the frontispiece is signed as drawn by T. Hearne and J. Heath, and engraved by W. Byrne and J. Landseer.

Most plates carry the publisher's imprint - in the first volume, of T. Hearne and W. Byrne (with dates of publication, from 1778 to 1786); in the second volume, of W. Byrne (with dates of publication, from 1796 to 1804) or , in the case of the last four plates, of Cadell and Davies (with the date of publication 1806). The second volume was 'Printed For T. Cadell and W. Davies, Strand'.


RIBA, Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1485 (on Vol. II, 1807); R. Sweet, Antiquaries (2004); Thomas Hearne, 1744-1817: watercolours and drawings [exhibition catalogue, ed. D. Morris and B. Milner] (Bolton, Mus. & A.G., 1985).
ESTC, T140692 [Vol. 1]

Summary Note

That the first volume is a first volume is stated on its added engraved title-plate only. The title page of the second volume carries the date 1807.

The notes to the views are given in English and in French.

A pupil of William Woollett, Hearne spent the years from 1771 to 1775 in the Caribbean, but on his return specialised in British topography. He toured Britain with Sir George Beaumont before producing his The Antiquities of Great Britain, and afterwards illustrated Richard Payne Knight's The Landscape (1794). Between 1785 and 1793 he exhibited at the Royal Academy.


A microfilm of Volume I was published in 2005 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Microfilm [imprint of Thomson Gale]).


The Royal Academy is included in the list of subscribers printed in vol. I.

RA Treasurer's Account Book 1768-1795, [between 30 June and 29 September] 1786: 'Herne & Birnes Views £7 9s.' (subscription).

20 February 1804: 'Resolved, that the following be purchased for the Library of the Royal Academy - viz. 2nd Vol: of Herne, & Byrnes Antiquities, Smith's Views in Italy - & 2 N.os of Polyautotopography' [sic] (RA Council Minutes III, 254).

RA Account Book 1796-1820, 'Abstract of Bills ... Christmas 1803 to Lady Day 1804': 'Two Volumes [i.e. vol. II] of Hearnes Antiquities 6 Numbers Proofs £7 10. 0.' [NB this actually refers to Farington's reimbursement for the Academy's subscription to vol. II.]

Copy Note

At the end of the list of subscribers in the first volume there is inscribed in ink, 'Addenda / The Marquis of Buckingham / Le Marquis de Bombel / Le Comte de Woronzoff / The Rt Honble. W. B. Conyngham'.

Binding Note

Both volumes are bound in contemporary calf, rebacked in 1992, retaining earlier red and black morocco spine-labels lettered 'Hearne & Byrnes Views Vol. I (II.)'.


Architecture, British - Antiquities, British - Castles - Monasteries - Churches - Great Britain - History
Views - Great Britain - 18th century - 19th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century - 19th century


Thomas Hearne, draughtsman, publisher, engraver
William Byrne, engraver, publisher
James Phillips, printer
James Heath ARA, draughtsman
Joseph Farington RA, source artist
Edward Edwards ARA, source artist
Sir George Beaumont, source artist
John Landseer ARA, engraver
Samuel Middiman, engraver
William Watts, engraver
William Woollett, engraver
Michael Angelo Rooker ARA, engraver
William Ellis, engraver
Thomas Medland, engraver
Benjamin Thomas Pouncy, engraver
Wilson Lowry, engraver
Thomas Cadell the elder, publisher
William Davies, publisher
Cadell and Davies (London), publisher