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Works Thomas Girtin

Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck

1799 - 1800

Primary Image: TG1508a: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck, 1799–1800, graphite on wove paper, 11.5 × 18 cm, 4 ½ × 7 ⅛ in. Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (1929P32).

Photo courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
11.5 × 18 cm, 4 ½ × 7 ⅛ in

‘Hawes’ on the back, lower centre, by Thomas Girtin; ‘Girtin’ on the back, lower left, in another hand; ’E. Goodwin’ on the back, lower left, in another hand

Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
River Scenery; The Village; Yorkshire View

Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck (TG1693)
Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck (TG1694)
Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck (TG1695)
Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck (TG1696)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
392i as 'Hawes, Yorkshire ... Probably 1799-retouched 1800.'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and April 2024


G. Douglas Thomson of the Palser Gallery, London, by 1923; presented to the Museum, 1929

Exhibition History

Midland Federation, 1958, no.20; Worthing, 1960, no.63; Amsterdam, 1965, no.56; Prague, 1969, no.68


Davies, 1938, p.3

About this Work

This sketch of cottages at Hawes in Wensleydale in Yorkshire, seen from Gayle Beck, was used by Girtin as the basis for a composition that is known in four different versions (TG1693, TG1694, TG1695 and TG1696), though only the last of these follows the landscape format recorded in the drawing. It is not known for sure when Girtin visited Hawes, but a sketch of Middleham is dated 1799 (TG1508), and it was presumably taken on his route north after his stay with his patron Edward Lascelles (1764–1814) at Harewood House. The fact that the finished watercolours all date from 1800 or 1801 also suggests that the original drawing was made in 1799, and there is further evidence to link it with a significant group of sketches from the same trip that all have roughly the same dimensions and appear to have come from a sketchbook. The sketch depicting Hawes has a particular significance for understanding Girtin’s sketching practice at this date, as the ragged edge and the holes indicate that the work was once loosely bound in with other sheets of paper. These holes match at least one other drawing on a wove paper of the same dimensions (TG1525).1 This view (Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea) is also significant because it misses a small section to the right, which, as a later copy indicates (TG1601), must have extended onto the opposite page. It seems that on just this one occasion, Girtin did execute his sketches in a book, though, as the paper historian Peter Bower has argued, it is unlikely that this was made commercially, and it may be that the artist himself assembled sheets of paper into a convenient gathering, both in which to work and to show to potential customers (Bower, 2002, p.141). This would certainly explain why amongst the dozen or so sketches of the same dimensions we find a number of different types of paper, just as is the case in the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1323–24 and TG1600–25), which the artist put together at a slightly later date. The touches of blue watercolour on the back of the drawing might indicate Girtin added some colour to his sketches in the field and that this has blotted from the next page. However, as with Chelsea Reach, where a touch of blue has strayed onto the image itself, it may be that it was the result of a studio accident as the artist worked on a watercolour with his sketch beside him.


Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck


1800 - 1801

Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck


1800 - 1801

Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck



Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck



Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond


1799 - 1800

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


(?) 1801

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The nicks in the edge of the paper where the sheets were stitched in occur at the same points roughly 1 cm, 3.5 cm, 7.5 cm and 9.4 cm from the top, though on opposite sides as the Hawes sketch was made on the right of the double spread.

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