A characteristic example of an artist who was born in Brighton and was never happier than when painting the Sussex Downs. It is worth comparing it with another view near Eastbourne, painted two years earlier, in the Birmingham Art Gallery; see Victorian Landscape Watercolours, exh. Yale, Cleveland and Birmingham, 1992-3, cat. no. 66, illustrated. As Scott Wilcox observed in the catalogue note, 'In the year that Hine painted this characteristic watercolour of the Sussex Downs, the Art Journal wrote: "The landscape's of H.G. Hine are of singular beauty. The range of nature's phenomena they embrace is not, perhaps, very varied. Certainly they do not deal in contrasts or surprises. Yet for tone, harmony and gentleness of sentiment, few landscapes can surpass them. In the management of tender grey greens they approach to Copley Fielding." Throughout his career Hine was noted for the delicacy and subtelty of his landscapes. According to George Clausen, who knew Hine in his later years, "He used to say that it was as difficult and subtle to model the shapes of the Downs as it was a human body."
It is no accident that the Art Journal compared Hine to Copley Fielding, himself a devotee of the Sussex landscape. Fielding did indeed influence the younger artist, although he never gave him formal instruction. Such training as Hine had was in engraving. He was apprenticed to Henry Meyer in London, and contributed many illustrations to Punch and the Illustrated London News. As a watercolourist he identified with the so-called New Watercolour Society, the Institute of Painters in Watercolours. Elected as an associate in 1863, he became a full member the following year and acted as vice-president from 1887 until his death.