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Works Thomas Girtin

An Unidentified Landscape, Known as 'The Pool'

(?) 1794

Primary Image: TG1377: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), An Unidentified Landscape, Known as 'The Pool', (?) 1794, watercolour on laid paper, 11.8 × 18.4 cm, 4 ⅝ × 7 ³⁄₁₆ in. Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI anonymous gift (73.204.23).

Photo courtesy of Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Anonymous gift (73.204.23) (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • An Unidentified Landscape, Known as 'The Pool'
(?) 1794
Medium and Support
Watercolour on laid paper
11.8 × 18.4 cm, 4 ⅝ × 7 ³⁄₁₆ in

‘T Girtin’ lower right, by Thomas Girtin (the signature has been cut, suggesting that it once extended onto an original mount which has been lost)

Part of
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work
Subject Terms
An Imaginary Scene; Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Museum Website


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); ... Christie’s, 27 March 1936, lot 1 as one of 'Six other Sepia Drawings of Landscapes and Sky Studies'; bought by Thos. Agnew & Sons; Christopher Lewis Loyd (1923-2013); bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1966 (stock no.6141); bought from them by an anonymous collector, £400; presented to the Museum, 1971

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1937, no.119 as ’The Pool’; Agnew’s, 1967, no.24 as ’Landscape’

About this Work

This signed landscape study is one of a group of seven small monochrome watercolours that were sold together at auction in 1936. Two of the drawings identified as part of the group are dated 1794, A Cloud Study (TG0186) and Jedburgh Abbey, from the Riverbank (TG0188). Given that all of them appear to be on the same laid paper of similar dimensions, it is possible that they came from a sketchbook that was split up. A later inscription on Jedburgh Abbey notes that it was once in the collection of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) and there is anecdotal evidence that it went to New Zealand in 1841 after his death; it may have been at this stage, therefore, that the watercolours were mounted on uniform sheets of brown paper. Tom Girtin (1913–94) queried the attribution of the drawing, and Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak did not include any of the group of monochrome sketches in their 1954 catalogue of the artist’s works, but the signature on this drawing appears to be genuine, and I do not see any reason to query the dating of the drawings to 1794 either (Girtin and Loshak, 1954).

There is some uncertainty about the precise purpose and function of this drawing and what appears to be a companion monochrome – An Unidentified Landscape (A Moorland View) (TG1376) – which was not part of the group of landscapes sold in 1936 but which is the same size and also on the same paper, as well as the very similar A Landscape with a Distant Church (TG0185). Thus, whilst the two sky studies (TG0186 and TG0199) show clear signs of being sketched on the spot, and the view of Jedburgh Abbey must have been copied from the work of another artist, these three more generalised landscapes appear to be imaginary scenes. The formulaic skies shown here may have been dashed in with the same dispatch, but nothing resembles the carefully noted cumulous clouds depicted in A Cloud Study, and the landscape itself is so undetermined as to defeat any attempt to establish a meaningful title. Thus, it is surely significant that the artist added a signature to the work, suggesting that even as early as 1794, right at the beginning of his association with Monro, Girtin had discovered an outlet for his sketches and that this extended to works of imagination that purported to have been made on the spot, as well as more conventional nature studies.


A Cloud Study



Jedburgh Abbey, from the Riverbank


(?) 1794

An Unidentified Landscape (A Moorland View)


(?) 1794



A Cloud Study


(?) 1794

A Sky Study


by Greg Smith

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