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 after (?) James Moore

An Unidentified Round Tower

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0110: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), An Unidentified Round Tower, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 19.5 × 16.9 cm, 7 ⅝ × 6 ⅝ in. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens (63.53).

Photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • An Unidentified Round Tower
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
19.5 × 16.9 cm, 7 ⅝ × 6 ⅝ in

‘T Girtin’ lower right, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Copy from an Unknown Source; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Scottish View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
29 as 'Abernethy Round Tower, Perth'; '1792–3'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


David Waters; his sale, Christie's, 10 February 1913, lot 72 as 'An Irish Round Tower'; bought by 'Palser', £6 6s; J. Palser & Sons, sold 11 August 1918; ... Sotheby’s, 20 March 1963, lot 66 as 'Abernethy Round Tower, Perth'; bought by P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd; bought by the Gallery, 1963

Exhibition History

Palser Gallery, 1914, no.79; Colnaghi’s, 1963, no.41; Huntington, 1993, no catalogue


McCurdy and Bermingham, 2022, pp.110–11 as 'Abernethy Round Tower, Perth'

About this Work

Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak titled this watercolour ‘Abernethy Round Tower, Perth’, but a comparison with the engraving made after Girtin’s drawing of that structure (see print after TG0093) and the drawing by James Moore (1762–99) on which it was based (see source image TG0093) suggests that this is incorrect (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.137). The tower shown here appears to be both shorter and broader than the tall, thin structure depicted by Girtin in the lost watercolour he made for Moore, his earliest patron, following the latter’s tour of Scotland in 1792. Moore also made a drawing of the only other round bell tower in Britain at Brechin, commissioning Girtin to render it as a watercolour (TG0138), but that too is taller and thinner than the structure shown here. It is possible that Girtin misinterpreted an untraced drawing of Abernethy by his patron, and it is to be remembered that he did not himself visit any of the possible locations for this drawing, but perhaps a more plausible explanation lies in the title attached to the work when it was sold at auction in 1913: ‘An Irish Round Tower’. Aside from Abernethy and Brechin, all the other detached round towers are in Ireland, some seventy-six in number, and it is possible that Moore, with his keen interest in all things antiquarian, commissioned Girtin to depict one of these to provide a context for his images of Abernethy and Brechin. If this is the case, Girtin would no doubt have based his work on an untraced print as Moore does not seem to have visited Ireland.

1792 - 1793

Abernethy Round Tower


1792 - 1793

Abernethy Round Tower


1792 - 1793

The West Front of Brechin Cathedral, with the Round Tower


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.