For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works (?) Thomas Girtin

A Landscape with an Unidentified House

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1557: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Landscape with an Unidentified House, 1798–99, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 34.5 × 47.2 cm, 13 ⅝ × 18 ½ in. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery (FAW 536).

Photo courtesy of Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Landscape with an Unidentified House
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
34.5 × 47.2 cm, 13 ⅝ × 18 ½ in

‘Girtin’ lower right, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Country House View; Unidentified Topographical View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


Edwin Leach Hartley (1864–1954); bequeathed to the Gallery, 1954

About this Work

As with another view of a small country house in a landscape setting (TG1559), it has not been possible to identify the building shown here. With no details about the drawing’s early provenance, and the house itself partly obscured by trees, there is little to go on, especially as the landscape setting, viewed from an elevated position, lacks any specific topographical detail. However, on the basis that Girtin rarely painted a view of a house without studying it from another angle, it is worth briefly considering two possible locations. The first is Chalfont House in Buckinghamshire, which is likewise shown (in several versions) set amongst trees and, in the view from the north east (TG1564), is also shown from an expanse of water, albeit the artificial Broadwater. The weir in this view suggests that we are looking from above a meandering river, however, and therefore the second, and arguably more plausible suggestion, is Bisham Abbey, which is located amongst trees on the river Thames. Girtin made this the subject of a small sketch-like panoramic view (TG1425a), dating from around 1800, and this at least gives a working hypothesis on which to base further research.

All of this depends, however, on the work being securely attributed to Girtin, and there are at least some grounds for doubting this. The band of trees in the middle ground appears overworked and heavy and, as in a similarly faded tree-filled composition, St Vincent’s Rocks from Nightingale Valley, near Bristol (TG1284), the effect is lifeless. The sky too is very flat, lacking Girtin’s customary concern to shape the clouds and give each a specific character, which, if not correct in meteorological terms, offers more than the bland pattern seen here. However, the signature appears to be genuine and on balance I am inclined to put most of the drawing’s failings down to its faded condition. I suspect that further progress on identifying its location might help to confirm the attribution.

1798 - 1799

An Unidentified House in an Open Landscape


(?) 1800

Chalfont House, from the North East, with Fishermen Netting the Broadwater


1799 - 1800

Bisham Abbey, on the River Thames


1798 - 1799

St Vincent’s Rocks from Nightingale Valley, near Bristol


by Greg Smith

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.