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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

An Unidentified View across a Lake, or along a Coast

1794 - 1795

Primary Image: TG0375: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763–1804), An Unidentified View across a Lake, or along a Coast, 1794–95, graphite and black chalk on wove paper, offset from another sheet, 16.7 × 23.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 9 ¼ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXVII 35 (D36606).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • An Unidentified View across a Lake, or along a Coast
1794 - 1795
Medium and Support
Graphite and black chalk on wove paper, offset from another sheet
16.7 × 23.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 9 ¼ in
Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in January 2018


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.1240 as 'Lake, with mountains' by Thomas Girtin

About this Work

This very slight sketch of an unidentified lake scene is one of forty or so outline drawings by Girtin that came from the collection of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) and that are now part of the Turner Bequest at Tate Britain. None of the drawings were made on the spot. Instead, they were copied from other sources, including Girtin’s first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99), and, in the case of pure landscapes, the artist’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804). The outlines, generally conforming to Moore’s standard size of roughly 6 × 8 ¾ in (15.2 × 22.2 cm), were probably made around 1794–95, at a time when Girtin was employed, together with his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), by Monro to produce watercolour versions of the outlines of John Robert Cozens (1752–97), amongst others. The precise function of Girtin’s copies after the drawings of Moore and Dayes is not so clear, however. A significant number were used as the basis for small watercolours painted on card, measuring roughly 3 × 4 ¾ in (7.6 × 12.1 cm) and these may have been produced with a topographical publication in mind (Wilton, 1984a, p.12). That, in itself, does not explain why Monro came to own the larger pencil copies, however. In the absence of any documentary evidence, my hunch is that rather than being commissioned by Monro, the drawings were produced by Girtin for his own use as models for possible watercolour compositions – they all depict views of subjects he could not have seen by this date – and that he subsequently sold them to his patron.

No final watercolour is known to have been produced from this sketch, though a view of Loch Lomond has a number of elements in common (TG0873), as does another lake view that may show a scene in the Lake District (TG0374). Both of these compositions may have been copied from one of the many sketches by Dayes that were in Monro’s collection, but until the location shown here is established it will be impossible to confirm whether this is the case. The slight nature of the drawing is no doubt due to it being offset from another sheet, a common procedure amongst artists testing out how a composition might appear in reverse.

1795 - 1796

Loch Lomond


1795 - 1796

A Lake and Mountains, Possibly in the Lake District


by Greg Smith

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