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Works Unknown Artist

A Distant View of Hull

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1537: Unknown Artist, A Distant View of Hull, 1798–99, watercolour on paper, 25.4 × 34.3 cm, 10 × 13 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Private Collection (All Rights Reserved)

Unknown Artist
  • A Distant View of Hull
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
25.4 × 34.3 cm, 10 × 13 ½ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Witt Library Photograph


Fine Art Society, London

Exhibition History

Fine Art Society, 1949, no.31 as by Thomas Girtin

About this Work

This work is known only from a black and white photograph dating from its last appearance in public, a sale in 1949, and consequently it has not been possible to confirm the attribution to Girtin. There is also no evidence that Girtin ever visited the town of Hull, though it is possible that he stopped off there during his 1796 tour to Yorkshire and further north. However, this work, if it is by Girtin, would appear to date on stylistic grounds from earlier, when the artist was still working under the influence of his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), in which case it would have been made after the work of another artist. This presupposes that the work actually shows Hull. Though the port was indeed dominated by a perpendicular tower similar to that shown here, Holy Trinity Church, the identification is otherwise unsubstantiated. In the absence of any further information, the best I can offer is the suggestion that the work is by an unknown artist and that any similarity with Girtin’s work or the subjects that he painted is probably a matter of coincidence.

We know even less about a view of Scarborough that last appeared in public at the 1875 centenary exhibition of Girtin’s work (Exhibitions: London, 1875, no.74ii). The work, which Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak thought came from the collection of the artist’s son, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), is said to have measured 8 ¼ × 12 ½ in (21 × 31.8 cm) (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.210). If the watercolour was by the artist, and that is a very big if, then it could be that the location was taken in during the 1796 tour as a part of coastal detour from York and/or Hull. Another even less likely option is that the artist travelled south from Sandsend and Whitby in the summer of 1800 after his stay in North Yorkshire at Mulgrave Castle.

by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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