Concerns about the coastal scene are relatively insignificant compared with those relating to two other watercolour sketches of beached vessels that are still occasionally referred to as being by Girtin (see figure 1 and figure 2). The works were not included in Girtin and Loshak’s catalogue, and a note in the Girtin Archive (14) suggests that they may be by John Henderson (1764–1843) after a ‘late sketch by Girtin’. Apart from the early shipping subjects that Girtin copied from Henderson, there are no comparable colour sketches of boats under repair, and neither of these on-the-spot studies appears to have been derived from Henderson’s example. Indeed, the sketches were coloured on the spot, and there is no evidence that Henderson ever worked on this scale. A more plausible attribution has recently been put forward by Christopher Baker, who suggests the name of Girtin’s associate in Paris John Samuel Hayward (1778–1822), citing a comparable on the-spot sketch, Penzance Pier from the Dolphin Inn Window, dated 15 October 1807 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1986.29.536)). The amateur artist’s Paris sketches are preserved in a pocketbook in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and, though there is no direct evidence that the two worked together, the influence of the older professional artist is readily apparent there as well as in these marine views (Baker, 2011, pp.164–65).
A Beached Vessel