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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

Carew Castle

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0123: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), Carew Castle, 1792–93, graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on wove paper, on an original washline mount, 16.8 × 21.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ¾ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1934.114.1).

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

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Carew Castle
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on wove paper, on an original washline mount
16.8 × 21.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ¾ in

‘Girtin’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin; ‘Carew Castle. Pemb.e’ on the mount, by James Moore

Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; South Wales

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and 2016


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, £18; his widow, Isabella Barnard; bequeathed to the Museum, 1934

Exhibition History

Manchester, 1857, no.78; London, 1875, no.51


Mayne, 1949, p.99; Brown, 1982, pp.323–24, no.707

About this Work

George Isham Parkyns (c.1749-1824), after James Moore (1762–99), aquatint, 'Carew Castle' for <i>Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales</i>, 1792, 7.3 × 10.1 cm, 2 ⅞ × 4 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

This view by Girtin of Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire was produced after an untraced sketch made by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), and Girtin certainly never visited the site himself. Girtin’s earliest patron toured South Wales in 1788 and he sketched the ruins of the castle on 27 August. One of his views of Carew was reproduced as an aquatint by George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824) and was published in Moore’s Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales (see figure 1) (Moore, 1792), but Girtin must have worked from another sketch that showed the west range of the castle. Girtin is documented as having worked for Moore between October 1792 and February 1793 for a fee of six shillings a day, producing watercolours on paper all measuring roughly 6 ½ × 8 ½ in (16.5 × 21.5 cm) with each, as here, carefully mounted with the patron’s inscription (Moore, Payments, 1792–93).1 This typical example is one of as many as seventy small watercolours that Girtin produced from Moore’s mundane sketches at this date. The majority of the drawings remained in the ownership of Moore’s descendants until the collection was broken up after 1912.

The view of Carew is one of seven that Girtin made from sketches Moore executed in South Wales during two tours. They all show close-up views of the region’s ancient castles and, typically of the set, this watercolour omits much of the building’s setting next to the river Carew in favour of a detailed record of the fortifications. The impressive towers of the castle’s west range also give way to a view to the left of the sixteenth-century domestic range added by Sir John Perrot (1528–92) as peace came to the region. Like the other views of castles in South Wales, such as Manorbier (TG0103) and Chepstow (TG0134), Carew is shown under a placid sky and there is no attempt to develop any effects that might evoke the site’s historical associations. All of this suggests an early date for this group of works, when the young Girtin was content to render the sketches of his patron in an even light with no ambition other than to depict the nation’s ruins accurately and as simple picturesque scenes.



1792 - 1793

Manorbier Castle


1792 - 1793

Chepstow Castle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The document detailing the payments made to the young Girtin by Moore is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1792–93 – Item 1).

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