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 and Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Timber-Frame House with a Hill Beyond

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG0920: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), A Timber-Frame House with a Hill Beyond, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 19.6 × 24.5 cm, 7 ¾ × 9 ⅝ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXV, 31 (D36552).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
  • A Timber-Frame House with a Hill Beyond
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
19.6 × 24.5 cm, 7 ¾ × 9 ⅝ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Picturesque Vernacular

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in December 2017


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 26–28 June and 1–2 July 1833 (day and lot number not known); bought by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851); accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1236 as 'Half-timbered farmhouse, with milkmaid, chickens, &c' by Thomas Girtin; Shanes, 2016a, p.99 as by 'Thomas Girtin and J. M. W. Turner'

About this Work

A Cottage

This monochrome watercolour of an unidentified timber-frame house was bought at the posthumous sale of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). Girtin’s great contemporary purchased numerous drawings at the auction of the extensive collection of their early patron, a large number of which were watercolours the two artists had collaborated on at Monro’s London home at the Adelphi. As seems to have been the case here, Girtin usually produced the pencil outline drawing and then Turner added the watercolour washes in a simple palette. The majority of the four hundred or so collaborations commissioned by Monro were made after the outline drawings of other artists, including numerous Italian and Swiss scenes by John Robert Cozens (1752–97). Other British views were worked up from the sketches of Edward Dayes (1763–1804) and Thomas Hearne (1744–1817), the latter of whom is the prime candidate for the source of this image of a picturesque timber-frame house. Hearne’s interest in the vernacular buildings of the south of England led him to produce a large number of sketches of such subjects, some of which he executed as watercolours, and the singular, irregular rural building, cobbled together from local materials, formed a distinctive part of his output. None of the large number of his works listed in the sales from Monro’s collection quite match the image developed by Girtin and Turner, however, and it may be that the drawing was borrowed as Hearne is known to have been one the patron’s ‘friends’ who ‘lend him their outlines’ for the ‘young men employed’ by the patron (Farington, Diary, 30 December 1794). Sketches by Hearne, such as A Cottage (see figure 1), have much in common with the image of the dilapidated farmhouse produced for Monro, and it was possibly from such an outline that Girtin produced his drawing for Turner to add his grey washes.

As David Morris has noted, Hearne introduced carefully recorded views of farm buildings into his watercolours to create images ‘symbolic of a simple, honest and laborious rural life’; though there is no evidence that Girtin saw rural imagery in such a moral light, the older artist’s influence had a long-lasting impact (Morris, 1989, p.128). In the years following his time working for Monro, Girtin began to produce studio watercolours of vernacular buildings studied during his travels, and picturesque farms similar to the one shown in Turver’s Farm, Radwinter (TG1415) became a staple part of his working practice.

1799 - 1800

Turver’s Farm, Wimbish


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.