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William Payne AOWS (1760-1830)


William Payne, AOWS (1760-1830)

William Payne was probably the most fashionable drawing master of the day, popular for both his loose, yet clear, application of pigment and his willingness to extend the bounds of the medium of watercolour.

William Payne was born in Westminster, London, on 4 March 1760, the son of a highly successful hop and coal merchant who was originally from Burwash, Sussex. He received some drawing lessons, possibly from Paul Sandby, and in 1776 sent a drawing to the Society of Artists, though he did not exhibit again for a decade. In 1778, he was appointed a ‘fifth class’ draughtsman by the Board of Ordnance, and worked in its Drawing Room at the Tower of London. He received training in drawing, mathematics and perspective, the last taught by Henry Gilder, a protégé and servant of Thomas Sandby. He then tested that training in an apprenticeship of surveying and mapping, and also of gun drill.

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