For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works (?) Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

A Bridge in the Lake District, Possibly Grange Bridge, Borrowdale

(?) 1797

Primary Image: TG0852: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804), A Bridge in the Lake District, Possibly Grange Bridge, Borrowdale, (?) 1797, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 7.8 × 12.3 cm, 3 ⅛ × 4 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's (All Rights Reserved)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • A Bridge in the Lake District, Possibly Grange Bridge, Borrowdale
(?) 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
7.8 × 12.3 cm, 3 ⅛ × 4 ¾ in
Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
The Lake District

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Richard Ivor; Christie's, 10 July 1990, lot 25 as by Thomas Girtin; Sotheby's, 9 July 2009, lot 122 as 'Grange Bridge, Borrowdale' by Joseph Mallord William Turner, £13,750

About this Work

This view of a double-arched bridge of a type commonly found in the Lake District is likely to have been amongst the sixty ‘Coloured Drawings on Cards’ sold from the collection of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 7 May 1808, lots 60 and 61; Christie’s, 26 June 1833, lots 80–83). A group of the cards was bought by Girtin’s collaborator at Monro’s home, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), and they now form part of the Turner Bequest at Tate Britain, where the majority of them are attributed to Girtin. The watercolours, all painted on card measuring roughly 3 × 4 ¾ in (7.6 × 12.1 cm), were mainly executed around 1795–96 after a set of outline drawings of antiquarian subjects that Girtin copied primarily from the sketches of his first significant patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), though there are also others after the work of Thomas Hearne (1744–1817).

This example, however, is one of a group of landscape views that, though painted in the same format, may date from a year or so later. Girtin certainly did not visit the Lake District and, given that Moore’s views of the region concentrated exclusively on antiquarian subjects, we need to look elsewhere for the watercolour’s source. Girtin painted a number of Lake District scenes whilst an apprentice to Edward Dayes (1763–1804), around 1791–92, including Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (TG0078), and these were clearly based on his master’s compositions. Three or four years later, however, Girtin would no longer have had access to Dayes’ studio and his sketches, but it is known that Monro owned a significant group of Dayes’ drawings, and in all probability it was these that provided the young artist with subjects from a region that he was never to visit. Items by Dayes included in the various sales from Monro’s collection, such as the seven ‘Views on the lakes … blue and India ink sketches’ (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 2 July 1833, lot 42), suggest that the lake scenes created by Girtin for Monro were made in the patron’s home and from the sketchiest materials, rather than fully worked watercolours.

The watercolour was attributed to Girtin when it was sold at auction in 1990, but it was given to Turner when it last appeared on the art market in 2009. No reason was given in the auction catalogue for the change and I am not convinced by the idea. Comparisons with other Lake District scenes, such as Buttermere Bridge, from the Fish Inn (TG0359) and Lancaster Priory Church, Seen with the Old Bridge over the River Lune (TG0358), suggest that they were made by the same hand, and Girtin still seems the likelier candidate for all but a few of the small colour cards produced for Monro. The suggestion in the same auction catalogue that this work depicts Grange Bridge, which still survives, cannot be upheld with any great confidence either. The setting certainly looks right and the broad sweep of the arch does resemble the bridge in Borrowdale, but it has never had a second smaller arch, seen here to the left, though it is just possible that Girtin misread an ambiguous passage in the sketch he was working from and inserted an extra element. This was a common enough occurrence when working from a slight sketch made by another artist, and not something that Girtin would have unduly worried about as Monro had probably not visited the site either. Grange Bridge features in another watercolour (TG1580) painted a few years later for Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827) from this patron’s own on-the-spot sketch. Not surprisingly, given the poor quality of the amateur’s sketch used by Girtin, the bridge is no more convincing there.

1791 - 1792

Lake Windermere and Belle Isle


1795 - 1796

Buttermere Bridge, from the Fish Inn


1795 - 1796

Lancaster Priory Church, Seen with the Old Bridge over the River Lune


1799 - 1800

Grange in Borrowdale


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.