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Printmaker and painter, born in Liverpool, who in 1885 took up a two-year scholarship at Herkomer’s School in Bushey, where he remained until 1895. Later lived on the south coast, notably at Seaford, Sussex. While in Bushey Hirst learned his engraving and mezzotint skills at the fine art printing studios of H T Cox, and after he moved he continued to use the studios for mezzotinting, at which he was an expert. His reputation was mainly as a mezzotint engraver of works by Gainsborough, Lawrence, Watteau and Romney, and in 1917 he was called as an expert witness in a notable court case in which an attribution was disputed. (Hirst’s opinion that the work was not by Romney was eventually borne out.) Hirst was made an associate of the RE in 1931.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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