Mary Ann Girtin (née Borrett) (1781–1843) was the daughter of a prosperous Aldersgate Street goldsmith, Phineas Borrett (1756–1843), who was a patron and supporter of Thomas Girtin. She married the artist at St George’s, Hanover Square, on 16 October 1800, and their only child, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), was born on 10 December 1801, during the artist’s absence in France. After Girtin’s death, Mary Ann was involved in a bitter legal dispute with John Girtin (1773–1821), the artist’s brother, over the income from the Eidometropolis and the posthumous publication of the Picturesque Views in Paris, on which she was listed, nominally at least, as co-publisher. The Complaint is transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1804 – Item 4) as the preliminary matter to John Girtin's accounts which are catalogued as: Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804. The legal proceedings in the Court of Chancery were not successful, but she was able to raise some funds through the sale of what remained of the artist’s works (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 1 June 1803). Mary Ann married again in 1811, to a wealthy merchant, Edward Cohen (1780–1835), and she had two more children. Her son, Edward Cohen (1816–87), built up a fine collection of Girtin’s work – entirely, it seems, by purchase as there is no evidence that Mary Ann retained any of her husband’s works, though she did own portraits of him, which may have been commissioned posthumously (TG1928 and TG1929).
Portrait Miniature of Thomas Girtin
1800 - 1805
Portrait of Thomas Girtin