Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), the only child of Thomas and Mary Ann Girtin (1781–1843), was born on 10 December 1801 and baptised on 26 January 1802, during the artist’s absence in France. Thomas Calvert was brought up by his mother and her second husband, Edward Cohen (1780–1835), and went on to have a successful career as a surgeon in north London, authoring a number of scientific papers and editing The House I Live In, described as ‘Popular Illustrations of the Structure and Functions of the Human Body’, which ran to a number of editions (Girtin, 1837). Thomas Calvert showed a keen interest in his father’s work and built up a substantial collection of his watercolours and drawings. He is known to have inherited property in Essex from his grandfather, Phineas Borrett (1756–1843), and Borrett may have been the source of some of the works in Thomas Calvert’s collection, such as Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter (TG1413). However, the bulk were acquired on the art market, which explains why the attributions of many have not stood the test of time. Thomas Calvert died intestate in October 1874 and his estate, valued at under £3,000, was administered by his son, George Wyndham Girtin (1836–1912), who secured portions of the collection for each of his three surviving sisters.
Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter