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Works Thomas Girtin

A Parkland Landscape with Cattle and Sheep

1799 - 1800

Primary Image: TG1575: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Parkland Landscape with Cattle and Sheep, 1799–1800, graphite and watercolour on paper, 12 × 15 cm, 4 ¾ × 6 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Parkland Landscape with Cattle and Sheep
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
12 × 15 cm, 4 ¾ × 6 in
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work; On-the-spot Colour Sketch
Subject Terms
The Landscape Park; Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


R. G. Smith; his sale, Sotheby’s, 7 July 1977, lot 149 as 'A River Valley with Cattle and Sheep on a Tree-Covered Bank', £900

About this Work

This small sketch of parkland has been dated to 1800, with the suggestion that it was made during Girtin’s trip to Yorkshire in that year. However, although it bears a resemblance to an upright view of another park landscape that has tentatively been identified as Harewood in Yorkshire (TG1543), the focus of Girtin’s summer tours in 1799 and 1800, the topography is not distinctive enough to confirm a precise location. Indeed, it may even be that, although the artist employed washes in a rapid and summary manner that is readily associated with a sketch coloured and worked on the spot, we are actually looking at a studio drawing, and an imaginary scene at that, though any judgement is hampered by the fact that the work is currently known only from a black and white photograph. However, it is, in any case, often difficult to distinguish between sketches that Girtin coloured on the spot and others, on the same intimate scale, that were made in the studio to satisfy the demand from collectors for less formal examples of his output as a landscape artist. Features such as the rapidly washed foreground, which may or may not represent a river, could equally be either a sign of an artist seeking to capture a transient light effect or a means to persuade a potential client that they are not actually buying a studio fabrication. Similarities with a contemporary ‘sketch’, A Torrent by a Clump of Trees (TG1770), suggest that the latter may be the case here, though confirmation of my suspicion that this is a studio work must await its reappearance or the publication of a better-quality image.

1799 - 1800

A Landscape with a Statue


1800 - 1801

A Torrent by a Clump of Trees


by Greg Smith

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