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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

An Ancient House, Possibly in Sussex

1793 - 1794

Primary Image: TG0248: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), An Ancient House, Possibly in Sussex, 1793–94, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original washline mount, 16.9 × 21.3 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ¾ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1934.112).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • An Ancient House, Possibly in Sussex
1793 - 1794
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original washline mount
16.9 × 21.3 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ¾ in

'T Girtin' lower left, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Picturesque Vernacular; Sussex View

An Ancient House, Possibly in Sussex (TG0080)
An Ancient House (TG0294)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
71 as 'Stone and Timber House (perhaps in Shropshire)'; '1794'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and 2018


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought by Francis Pierrepont Barnard (1854–1931), 1912, £20; his widow, Isabella Barnard; bequeathed to the Museum, 1934


Brown, 1982, p.328, no.716

About this Work

This fine early watercolour by Girtin, in perfect condition and still retaining its original washline mount, was made after a sketch by Girtin’s first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99). The original drawing has not been traced, but another view by Moore of the same house from a different angle is also in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (TG0190a). The origin of the view in a sketch by the amateur might, in any case, have been inferred from the building’s rather shaky perspective. Likewise, the fact that the work came from Moore’s collection, and was therefore painted as a commission, is clear from the washline mount, which follows the same format employed for the majority of the seventy or so extent watercolours that Girtin produced from the amateur’s sketches. The mount was conceived as an integral part of the drawing, as can be seen from the way that the washes of colour seep from the drawing to its surround, meaning that it was attached to its support before the artist finished adding the colour.

The watercolour is quite untypical of the works Girtin painted after Moore’s sketches in one crucial respect, however. Unusually for a patron with an overwhelming interest in the nation’s ruins, both military and monastic, Moore chose to sketch a view of a humble vernacular domestic building. Unfortunately he did not inscribe the location of the half-timbered building, and consequently it has not been possible to establish its identity. Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak suggested that the building was located ‘perhaps in Shropshire’, but it is possible that Moore came across it during one of his trips to Sussex, as that was where he made the majority of the other sketches contained in the album of drawings from which this image comes (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.143). The building indeed shares some of the features of Wealden hall houses, though no precise model has been found.

In addition to the Ashmolean watercolour, Girtin repeated the composition in a smaller colour sketch made for Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (TG0294). Another version, probably coloured by a different hand, is at Newport Museum and Art Gallery (TG0080).

(?) 1795

A Tudor House


1795 - 1796

An Ancient House


1793 - 1794

An Ancient House, Possibly in Sussex


by Greg Smith

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