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Works Thomas Girtin

Cattle by a River with a Castle Beyond, Probably Okehampton Castle

(?) 1797


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Cattle by a River with a Castle Beyond, Probably Okehampton Castle
(?) 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper (watermark: M)
16.5 × 23 cm, 6 ½ × 9 in

‘Oakhampton’ on the back

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; River Scenery; The West Country: Devon and Dorset

Okehampton Castle, from the West Okement River (TG1276)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


John Postle Heseltine (1843–1929); his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 29 May 1935, lot 313; volume bought by Bernard Squire, £32; ... Sotheby’s, 9 November 1995, lot 70, £575 as 'Cattle by the River Okement, Okehampton, the Castle Beyond'

Exhibition History

Squire Gallery, 1936, no.50

About this Work

This sketch of a castle seen from a river appeared at an auction in 1995, when it was identified as Okehampton on the basis of an inscription on the back. The pencil drawing does not appear to have been photographed, but it seems from the description in the sale catalogue that it depicts the same view seen in a watercolour in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario (TG1276). This view has now been definitively identified as showing Okehampton Castle on the basis of a comparison with an earlier engraving (see TG1276 figure 1), and the water must be the West Okement river, with the ruins seen from the south, therefore. If this pencil drawing is indeed a view of Okehampton, then it was very likely produced, together with another on-the-spot colour sketch of the castle (TG1277), on Girtin’s journey between Plymouth and Bideford, which marked the turning point of his West Country tour in November 1797. The status of the drawing as an on-the-spot study might also be confirmed by the presence of another sketch on the back, but no image of that has been traced either.

1797 - 1798

Okehampton Castle, from the West Okement River


(?) 1797

Okehampton Castle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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