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Works Thomas Girtin

A Haystack on a Farm, on the Road to Harrow-on-the-Hill

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG1389: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Haystack on a Farm, on the Road to Harrow-on-the-Hill, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 15.9 × 19 cm, 6 ¼ × 7 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Haystack on a Farm, on the Road to Harrow-on-the-Hill
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
15.9 × 19 cm, 6 ¼ × 7 ½ in

‘on the Road to Harrow on the Hill’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
On-the-spot Colour Sketch
Subject Terms
London and Environs; Picturesque Vernacular; Rural Labour

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2014


Sir John Clermont Witt (1907–82); ... Sotheby’s, 9 March 1989, lot 7 as 'A Haystack on a Farm, near Harrow', £825; Sotheby’s, 14 November 1996, lot 132, unsold; Christie's, South Kensington, 2 December 2014, lot 171, £938

About this Work

A Farm at Harrow

This simple sketch of a rural scene close to London has been dated to 1794, presumably on the grounds that Girtin’s only other view of the village of Harrow is inscribed with that date (TG0187). Uniquely amongst Girtin’s early sketches, there are also two small sheets that are inscribed with the date 1794 (TG0186 and TG0188), but they have nothing in common with this work, which was probably executed several years later. Harrow is only sixteen kilometres from central London, so it was easily accessible for artists in search of picturesque subjects in an area that was not to lose its rural character until well into the nineteenth century. Girtin’s near contemporary Robert Hills (1769–1844) was just one of many landscape artists who found the village and the farms on the route from London to be a rich resource for their rural subjects, and his sketch from a few years later may even show the same farm building featured in Girtin’s sketch (see figure 1). Certainly, there is no reason to doubt Girtin’s inscription on the drawing, though it is unlikely that Harrow was the sole object of his attention on his journey out of London. The village would have been on Girtin’s route to Cassiobury (TG1571), the home of his later patron George Capel-Coningsby, 5th Earl of Essex (1757–1839), and nearby Bushey appears to have been the subject of his attention around 1800–1801. This drawing feels earlier in date, however, and the greater likelihood is that Girtin sketched it on a visit to the county, probably in 1796, when he made a number of studies of St Albans in preparation for his major exhibition watercolour of the interior of the abbey church (TG1040).






A Cloud Study



Jedburgh Abbey, from the Riverbank


1800 - 1801

The Sawmill, Cassiobury Park



The Interior of St Albans Abbey


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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