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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

Duff House, from the South

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0108: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762–99), Duff House, from the South, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount, 15.3 × 22.2 cm, 6 × 8 ¾ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1916.2).

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

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), Duff House, 1792, graphite on wove paper, 17.9 × 22.9 cm, 7 × 9 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.735).

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

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Duff House, from the South
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount
15.3 × 22.2 cm, 6 × 8 ¾ in
Mount Dimensions
15.8 × 22.6 cm, 6 ¼ × 8 ⅞ in

‘Girtin’ lower centre, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Country House View; Scottish View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
41i as 'Duff House, Banff'; '1793'
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 the Museum, 1916, £12 12s

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.46 as one of 'Two Views of Duff House, Banff, N. B.'


Bell, 1915–17, p.75; Mayne, 1949, p.99; Brown, 1982, p.322, no.704

About this Work

This is the first of two watercolour views of Duff House, on the north-east coast of Scotland, that Girtin made after drawings by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see the source image above and source image TG0184), and Girtin himself never visited the site. Girtin’s earliest patron undertook an extensive tour of the country in the late summer of 1792 and his sketches of the house on the river Deveron were made on 11 September. 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 generally measuring roughly 6 ½ × 8 ½ in (16.5 × 21.5 cm), as here (Moore, Payments, 1792–93).1 In all Girtin painted seventy or so small watercolours after Moore’s sketches, including about thirty compositions derived from drawings made on the trip to Scotland. The overwhelming majority of the images show the nation’s great Gothic cathedrals and its ruined monastic buildings and war-ravaged castles, but this is the only Moore commission that depicts a relatively recently built country house. The reason why Moore singled out the incomplete Duff House in this way is not known, but he went on to commission a second version of the composition from Girtin in 1794 (TG0184), and the watercolour was engraved and published in 1797 (see the print after TG0184). In comparison with the later drawing, and indeed with all of the Scottish views that Girtin made for Moore, the colouring here is very reticent, with the artist restricting his palette to a narrow range of greys and blues.

Duff House

Duff House was built from 1730 for William Duff (1697–1763), later Lord Braco and 1st Earl of Fife, and it was designed by William Adam (c.1689–1748). The view from the south incorporates the river Deveron, and a distant view of the sea with the spire of Banff Church adds to the composition to the right. Girtin primarily worked from Moore’s view of the house from the river (see the source image above), but he presumably also referred to his patron’s closer view for architectural details (see figure 1). The artist’s conservative approach in what must have been his first essay in the country house portrait genre is typified by his employment of the old convention of showing the building’s plate glass windows as unreflective slabs of dark grey.


Duff House, from the River



Duff House, from the River



Duff House, from the River


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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