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Works Thomas Girtin and Samuel Howitt

A Herd of Deer in Richmond Park

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG1374: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Samuel Howitt (1756–1822), A Herd of Deer in Richmond Park, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on paper, 22.8 × 30.5 cm, 9 × 12 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Samuel Howitt (1756-1822)
  • A Herd of Deer in Richmond Park
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
22.8 × 30.5 cm, 9 × 12 in

‘Howitt & Girtin’ lower left; ‘Samuel Howitt’ lower right

Object Type
Collaborations; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Animal Study; London and Environs

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


John Bannister (1760–1836); his posthumous sale, Foster's, 28 March 1849, lot 53 as 'A pair of Views in Windsor Great Park with deer' by Samuel Howitt and Thomas Girtin, £4 14s 6d; ... Christie’s, 9 July 1991, lot 118, unsold

About this Work

This unusual collaboration between Girtin and the animal painter Samuel Howitt (1756–1822), his older contemporary, is one of a pair of views that show herds of deer in Richmond Park and Windsor Great Park (the other being TG1373). The watercolours, which are signed by both artists, are marked by a strict division of labour, with Girtin producing the landscape and Howitt painting the animals. Both works are only known through black and white photographs, and it is therefore not possible to say how the two artists worked – that is, whether Girtin began by producing a landscape leaving gaps for Howitt to add in the animals or whether, instead, Howitt initiated the process, with Girtin improvising the landscape around the forms of the deer. The latter option seems the more likely on practical grounds, and there is also nothing specific about the landscape included in the Richmond Park version to suggest that it was based on an on-the-spot sketch. The likeliest scenario, therefore, is that the young Girtin was employed around 1795–96 by Howitt to add a landscape to a study of young male deer sparring, and that although Richmond was easily accessible to the artist, he simply added a generalised view of forestry scenery to the drawing. Howitt’s deer may have been the result of the diligent work of a specialist animal painter, but there is no evidence that they were the direct result of studies made on the spot either, and, as with the view of Windsor, the ostensible topographical subject adds little, other than to link the two views together as a pair of royal parks.

1795 - 1796

Stags Fighting amongst a Herd of Deer in Windsor Great Park, with the Castle in the Distance


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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