Phineas Borrett (1756–1843) was a prosperous goldsmith of Aldersgate Street, London, and a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company who is recorded as having worked from 1780 to 1810. He also owned property in the villages of Radwinter and Wimbish in Essex and he commissioned views of the farms from Girtin around 1799 (TG1413 and TG1414). It was presumably through this connection that the artist met Borrett’s daughter, Mary Ann Borrett (1781–1843), whom he married in October 1800. Artist and patron appear to have been close and Girtin gave as his address Borrett’s home at 11 Scott’s Place, Islington, in the catalogue of the 1800 Royal Academy exhibition. The newly married couple initially lived there too, and the artist moved back in with his in-laws on his return from France in April 1802. The Girtin Archive, held by the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, notes that Borrett left a will (untraced, but apparently dating from 1815) bequeathing Pinkney’s Farm in Wimbish to the artist’s son, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74). Though it has not been confirmed, it is possible that this was also the way in which a group of views of Essex farm properties, including A Mill in Essex (TG1416), remained in the hands of the Girtin family.

(?) 1799

Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter


(?) 1799

Turver’s Farm, Wimbish


(?) 1799

A Mill in Essex