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Works Thomas Girtin

A Wooded Landscape with a Church Spire, Inscribed 'Marlow'

1799 - 1800

Primary Image: TG0313: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Wooded Landscape with a Church Spire, Inscribed 'Marlow', 1799–1800, graphite on paper, 11.4 × 18.7 cm, 4 ½ × 7 ⅜ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Wooded Landscape with a Church Spire, Inscribed 'Marlow'
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite on paper
11.4 × 18.7 cm, 4 ½ × 7 ⅜ in

‘Marlow’ lower right, by (?) Thomas Girtin

Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Unidentified Topographical View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


John Postle Heseltine (1843–1929); his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 29 May 1935, lot 313; volume bought by Bernard Squire, £32; bought by Walter C. Hetherington (d.1978); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 14 February 1978, lot 56, £90

About this Work

This sketch of a wooded landscape with a distant church spire is inscribed ‘Marlow’, presumably by the artist. Girtin made a number of watercolours of the riverside town in Buckinghamshire early in his career (TG0054 and TG0344), and the form of the steeple shown here, with its sharply pointed spire surmounting a tower with two prominent vertical openings, does indeed resemble All Saints Church, Marlow. The pencil work, though relatively slight, is more characteristic of the artist’s later sketches, however, and the form of the foliage, in particular, resembles drawings such as Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough (TG1509), which was almost certainly made in Yorkshire in 1799. I suspect that it is not coincidental that they are on paper with the same vertical measurements. If my suspicion is correct, and both drawings came from a single sketchbook that Girtin appears to have been using around 1799, then it does not necessarily follow that the inscription identifying the scene shown here as Marlow is incorrect, since at least one other sheet from the same source depicts a view in the south east (TG1525). All of Girtin’s earlier views of Marlow appear to have been made from the sketches of other artists, and so it is not out of the question that he took the opportunity to make a sketch of the Buckinghamshire countryside when the opportunity presented itself in the course of a journey elsewhere. Though all of this is admittedly based on too much speculation for comfort, a dating of around 1799 feels much happier than my initial thought that the image was copied from another artist and that it related in some way to the earlier secondhand views of Marlow.

(?) 1791

Marlow, from across the River Thames


1795 - 1796

A Distant View of Marlow, from the River Thames


1799 - 1800

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough


1799 - 1800

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


by Greg Smith

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