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Works Thomas Girtin

A Panoramic Landscape, with Figures Trawling a Pond

1800 - 1801

Primary Image: TG1742: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Panoramic Landscape, with Figures Trawling a Pond, 1800–01, graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on paper, 16.2 × 37.5 cm, 6 ⅜ × 14 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Panoramic Landscape, with Figures Trawling a Pond
1800 - 1801
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on paper
16.2 × 37.5 cm, 6 ⅜ × 14 ¾ in

‘Girtin / this drawing was made for Raphael Smith .../ at whose sale I bought it / J.T. Smith’ on the back, by John Thomas Smith

Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
London and Environs; Panoramic Format

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2014


John Raphael Smith (1752–1812); his posthumous sale, Dodd and Holland, 28 May 1814, lot unknown; John Thomas Smith (1766–1833); ... Christie’s, 20 March 1984, lot 82 as 'An Extensive Landscape with Figures trawling a Gravel pit, the Glimmer of a Bay in the Distance', £1,728; Christie's, 8 July 1986, lot 124; Bearnes, Exeter, 4 March 1998, lot 379 as by a 'Follower of' Thomas Girtin; Christie's, South Kensington, 16 July 2014, lot 639, unsold

Exhibition History

Stoke, 1984, no.1

About this Work

This very faded panoramic landscape showing figures trawling a pond has been associated with Hampstead in north London, leading to references in earlier versions of the title to a gravel pit, but in fact there is no evidence that might help to identify the locality shown, and it may even be an imaginary scene. The watercolour’s poor condition has even led to questions being asked about the attribution to Girtin. However, though this is hardly one of the artist’s finest creations, the inscription on the reverse, which records that the drawing was ‘made for’ John Raphael Smith (1752–1812) and that it appeared at his posthumous sale in 1814, allays many doubts that linger in this respect. The artist and engraver was well known to Girtin, for not only was his portrait sketch pasted onto the first page of the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1600) but also, according to a later tradition, Smith employed the young artist, together with his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), to hand-colour prints (Thornbury, 1862, vol.1, p.91).1 However, although it is now clear that this was not the case, the association between the two was to develop throughout Girtin’s career, partly it seems through their mutual friend and associate George Morland (1763–1804). Moreover, Smith appears to have been an avid collector of Girtin’s works. His posthumous sale included nine lots totalling thirty-five items by Girtin, mostly sketches but also some ‘large landscapes’ and a ‘view, near Weymouth’, though Smith had first ‘left all the drawings in [his] possession by Girtin’ to his friend John Benson (1755–1811) (Exhibitions: Dodd and Holland, 28 May 1814).2 But perhaps ‘collector’ is not quite the right word here, since the statement that the work was ‘made for’ Smith may mean that rather than being a commission from a disinterested patron, it was actually produced to be engraved, though no evidence of a print after the drawing has yet been found.

1798 - 1799

John Raphael Smith: ‘Waiting for the Mail Coach’


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 Thornbury’s biography of Turner includes extensive anecdotal detail about Girtin’s life and career. Although the text is often frankly fanciful in character, it does contain some useful details and the sections relating to Girtin have been transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive.(1862 – Item 1)
  2. 2 The National Archives (Prob 11/1534, f.303r)

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