Sir Robert Clermont Witt (1872–1952) was a successful solicitor and a partner in one of the most prominent firms in London. Witt was passionately interested in art, helping to found the National Art-Collections Fund, and he acted as a trustee of the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. In 1932 he collaborated with Samuel Courtauld (1876–1947) and Arthur Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham (1868–1947), in founding the Courtauld Institute of Art and he remained a member of its committee of management until his death. He bequeathed his extraordinary library of photographs, numbering over 750,000 items, to the Courtauld, together with his collection of watercolours and drawings. The six thousand items in the latter included six works by Girtin, the outstanding example being Appledore, from Instow Sands (TG1737).
Appledore, from Instow Sands