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Works Unknown Artist

An Unidentified View, Formerly Known as 'L'Arriccia'

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0621: Unknown Artist, An Unidentified View, Formerly Known as 'L'Arriccia', 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount, 20.3 × 26 cm, 8 × 10 ¼ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.1213).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Unknown Artist
  • An Unidentified View, Formerly Known as 'L'Arriccia'
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount
20.3 × 26 cm, 8 × 10 ¼ in

'Study of Trees / Girtin' on the back

Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Unidentified Topographical View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to Thomas Girtin (1874–1960); given to Tom Girtin (1913–94), c.1938; bought by John Baskett on behalf of Paul Mellon (1907–99), 1970; presented to the Center, 1975

Exhibition History

London, 1962a, no.27 as 'L'Arriccia (?) ... Monro School. Attributed to Thomas Girtin' and, as noted in the catalogue, 'Formerly attributed to Turner'


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.204 as 'Called L'Arriccia' by Thomas Girtin; YCBA Online as 'Landscape with Trees and a Distant Castle by Unknown Artist, Eighteenth Century' (Accessed 07/09/2022)

About this Work

This unidentified landscape was titled ‘Called L’Arriccia’ by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak, who also suggested that it was by Girtin (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.204). Citing no evidence, they also claimed that the work had been in the Girtin family collection since the early nineteenth century, though by implication they also suggested that it was produced at the house of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), where Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) produced a large number of copies for their patron. The work was known only as a black and white photograph until very recently, but even from a poor image there was clear reasons to doubt just about every aspect of the 1954 catalogue entry. Thus, the suggestion that the work may show an Italian view, possibly Ariccia, is based on the slenderest evidence: the distant group of elevated buildings seen through trees bears no more than a passing resemblance to images of the town, such as TG0622. Certainly, the handling of the watercolour washes appears very crude in comparison with the copies after views of Ariccia by John Robert Cozens (1752–97) (TG0618 and TG0619), and, if the work is by Girtin, and that is very debatable, it would have to have been created much earlier than the dating of 1794–95 given by Girtin and Loshak. On balance, I strongly suspect that this work has nothing to do with the Monro School and that its acquisition by the artist’s son, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), early in the nineteenth century reflects the lack of knowledge about Girtin’s career at the time; its subsequent place in the catalogue of his work is simply fortuitous, therefore.

1795 - 1800

Ariccia: The Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Chigi Palace


1794 - 1797

Ariccia: The Church of Santa Maria Assunta


1794 - 1797

Ariccia: Looking Up to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta


by Greg Smith

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