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Hardie, Martin

    Image Credit: National Portrait Gallery

    Full Name: Hardie, Martin

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1875

    Date Died: 1952

    Place Born: St Pancras, Camdon, Greater London, London, England, UK

    Place Died: Tonbridge, Kent, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): drawings (visual works) and prints (visual works)

    Career(s): curators

    Institution(s): Victoria and Albert Museum


    Keeper (Curator) of prints and drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1921-1935; bibliophile. Hardie was the son of James Hardie, a headmaster at Linton House, a grammar school in London, and Marion Pettie. He attended Linton House and then St. Paul’s School, London, were he won prizes for drawing. In 1895 Hardie entered Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in1898. He joined the South Kensington Museum (later Victoria and Albert Museum) working in the library. He married Agnes Madeline Pattisson (b. 1876/7) in 1903. The same year he wrote the catalog to the V&A’s print collection in the National Art Library. In 1906 he translated the German history of engraving written by Friedrich Lippmann and Max Lehrs as Engraving and Etching. He also published English Coloured Books the same year. During this time, the Royal College of Art was housed in Museum and Hardie studied etching under the academician Sir Frank Short (1857-1945). Hardie issued a small monograph on the work of John Pettie in 1908. He became assistant keeper in 1914. During World War I he served in the army rising to the rank of captain. In 1918 he published a book of his own drawings, Boulogne, a Base in France, Being Thirty-two Drawing from the Sketch Book of Capt. Martin Hardie. He returned to the Museum after the war and authored a second catalog of the library’s graphics, this one on contemporary wood-engravers, in 1919. Attuned to the Museum’s mission of popular culture and education, he created an exhibition of posters from the war in 1920. In 1921 he was appointed keeper of the departments of painting, engraving, illustration, and design. There he issued his British School of Etchers the same year. During his years as keeper, Hardie built the graphics collection into one of the finest in England, particularly in contemporary prints. He mounted an exhibition of Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) in 1927, resurrecting the artist to national prominence again. A catalog on Charles Meryon in 1931. His catalogue raisonné of the work of W. Lee-Hankey appeared in 1921. After retiring from the Museum in 1935 he received the third class of the Order of the British Empire, Commander of the British Empire, or C. B. E. A Sketch-Book of Thomas Girtin was written for the Walpole Society in 1939. During the Second World War Hardie was an air raid warden. In 1943 he became an honorary member of the Royal Watercolour Society. Hardie wrote the three-volume Water-colour Painting in Britain. It appeared posthumously beginning in 1966. His personal artistic output included nearly 200 prints and twenty-five sketchbooks. He died at home in Tonbridge, England. His uncle was the artist John Pettie (1839-1893).

    Hardie was a significant influence on Carl Winter, later the Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum

    Selected Bibliography

    translated, Lippmann, Friedrich, and Lehrs, Max. Engraving and Etching: a Handbook for the Use of Students and Print Collectors. New York : Scribner, 1906;  English Coloured Books. London: Methuen and Co., 1906; Boulogne, a Base in France, being thirty-two Drawing from the Sketch Book of Capt. Martin Hardie. London: A. & C. Black, 1918; and Sabin, Arthur K. War Posters Issued by Belligerent and Neutral Nations 1914-1919. London: A. & C. Black, 1920;   The Etched Work of W. Lee-Hankey, R. E., from 1904 to 1920. London: L. H. Lefevre & Son, 1921;  Samuel Palmer: being a Lecture Delivered to the Print Collectors’ Club. London: Print Collectors’ Club, 1928; Charles Meryon and his Eaux-fortes sur Paris. London: Print Collectors’ Club, 1931;”The Etched Work of Samuel Palmer.” Print Collector’s Quarterly (1931): 207-240; Water-colour Painting in Britain. 3 vols. London: Batsford, 1966-1968;


    Griffiths, Antony, ed., Landmarks in Print Collecting: Connoisseurs and Donors at the British Museum since 1753. London: British Museum, 1996; “Mr. Martin Hardie.” The Times (London) January 22, 1952, p. 6.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Hardie, Martin." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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