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Works Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin

A House at Winster

1800 - 1810

Primary Image: TG1574: Unknown Artist, after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A House at Winster, 1800–10, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 25.4 × 34.3 cm, 10 × 13 ½ in. Victoria and Albert Museum, London (157-1890).

Photo courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum, London (All Rights Reserved)

Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A House at Winster
1800 - 1810
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
25.4 × 34.3 cm, 10 × 13 ½ in

‘Girtin’ lower centre, not in Thomas Girtin's hand

Object Type
Copy after Thomas Girtin
Subject Terms
Derbyshire View; The Smaller House and Garden

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


John Joseph Jenkins (1811–85); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 1 March 1886, lot 126 as 'View of Dr. Monro’s House, Fetcham, Surrey'; bought by 'Palser', £8 8s; J. Palser & Sons; Dr John Percy (1817–89); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 17 April 1890, lot 525; bought by 'Vokins', £12; J & W Vokins; bought from them by the Museum, 1890


V&A, 1927, p.232 as 'Dr. Monro's House, Fetcham, Surrey'; Lambourne and Hamilton, 1980, p.151 as 'House at Winster, Derbyshire' by Thomas Girtin

About this Work

This poor-quality, full-size copy of a watercolour in the collection of the British Museum (TG1573) was acquired as ‘Dr. Monro’s House, Fetcham, Surrey’, though how and why it acquired the erroneous title linking it to Girtin’s early patron Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) is not known. It was subsequently correctly identified by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak from a photograph of a painting inscribed ‘at Winster, Derbe’ (see source image TG1573), and, given that Girtin is not known to have visited that area of Derbyshire, near Matlock, it is almost certainly the case that his composition was based on the painting, rather than, as the same authors suggested, that it copied Girtin’s watercolour (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.176). The more compact and satisfactory composition of both the original watercolour by Girtin and this copy only makes sense as an improvement on the work of an amateur or a local artist of limited ability. The status of this work as an anonymous copy, in turn, is established by the clearly forged signature in the foreground, as well as the poor quality of the handling of the washes throughout, with areas of the vegetation, in particular, falling well below Girtin’s standards, even allowing for the uneven quality of the original. It is ironic, therefore, that part of the evidence that suggests this is a later, non-autograph copy comes from its relatively better state of preservation; the anonymous artist has copied the tints used by Girtin, but employing different, less fugitive pigments, so that the greens and blues have retained more of their original freshness. 

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, but I suspect that the original came from the Brittlebank collection, and it was presumably someone within the family who made this copy. This version first appeared on the art market in 1886, a few years earlier than the original in the British Museum, and already by then it had acquired its false title. It seems, therefore, that the association of the copy with Girtin’s better-known patron, Monro, trumped the Brittlebank commission, which presumably lost its correct identification when the collection was broken up.

1799 - 1800

A House and Garden at Winster in Derbyshire


1799 - 1800

A House and Garden at Winster in Derbyshire


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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