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Works Thomas Girtin

A House and Garden at Winster in Derbyshire

1799 - 1800

Primary Image: TG1573: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A House and Garden at Winster in Derbyshire, 1799–1800, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 26.7 × 35.7 cm, 10 ½ × 14 in. British Museum, London (1890,0806.5).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Artist's source: Unknown Artist, A House at Winster, oil on canvas, unknown measurements. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Private Collection (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A House and Garden at Winster in Derbyshire
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
26.7 × 35.7 cm, 10 ½ × 14 in

‘Girtin’ lower centre, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Derbyshire View; The Smaller House and Garden

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
311i as 'House at Winster, Derbyshire'; '1799'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and 2018


William Ward (1829–1908); bought from him by the Museum, 1890

Exhibition History

London, 1936, no number; London, 1953a, no.33


Binyon, 1898–1907, no.29 as 'Dr. Monro's House at Fetcham'; Davies, 1924, pl.34; British Museum, Collection as 'Dr Monro's House at Winster, Derbyshire' (Accessed 18/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of a house and garden was thought to be the home of Girtin’s early patron Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) until it was correctly identified by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak from a photograph of an oil painting inscribed ‘at Winster, Derbe’ (see the source image above) (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.176). Girtin is not known to have visited that area of Derbyshire, near Matlock, and it is almost certainly the case that his view was based on the painting, rather than, as Girtin and Loshak suggested, that the latter copied Girtin’s watercolour. That, for me, is the logical explanation for why the oil painting contains more of the landscape to the right, so that Girtin reshaped the composition, cutting it and adding framing trees to create a more compact and focused effect that is demonstrably more successful than its source. The watercolour has faded to a certain degree, causing some flattening in the foliage and leaving the yellow highlights too prominent, but it was arguably never one of Girtin’s finest achievements, and there is more than a whiff of hack work about it. However, there is no question about the attribution to Girtin, unlike the anonymous copy in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with its fake signature (TG1574). Here, the authentic signature in the foreground has been cut slightly, suggesting that the work was originally mounted and that Girtin’s name, which must have strayed onto it, was partly lost when the support was removed. 

It has not been possible to establish the precise circumstances that saw Girtin receiving a commission to paint a modest country house after the work of an unknown regional artist, but there is nonetheless evidence to link the image with Oddo House, the home of the solicitor William Brittlebank (1765–1848), who lived in Winster. The house was demolished sometime after 1891, and it has not been possible to definitively confirm the identification of the property. However, I suspect that it was not a coincidence that Girtin’s watercolour was acquired by the British Museum in the same year that the contents of Oddo House were sold at auction (by George Marsden, 18–21 June 1890), and further work in Derbyshire Record Office might well establish the provenance of the work for certain as well as confirming its presence in the 1890 sale.

1800 - 1810

A House at Winster


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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