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Works (?) Thomas Girtin after Unknown Artist

Dunrobin Castle

1799 - 1800


(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after Unknown Artist
  • Dunrobin Castle
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
24.8 × 34.9 cm, 9 ¾ × 13 ¾ in


Object Type
Copy from an Unknown Source; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Country House View; Scottish View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Sir Prescott Gardner Hewett (1812–91) (lent to London, 1875)

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.24


Wedmore, 1876, p.117; Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208

About this Work

This watercolour has not been seen in public since it appeared in the major exhibition of Girtin’s work organised by the Burlington Fine Arts Club to celebrate the centenary of the artist’s birth in 1875. Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak included it in their catalogue of the artist’s works (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208), but no photograph of it survives and there is consequently no way of knowing whether the attribution is correct. However, since a review of the exhibition suggests that ‘the evident intention to produce an effect of intense brightness and sunlight’ was unsuccessful and the ‘effect is rather raw’, it is likely that the attribution to Girtin was a speculative one.1

As Girtin and Loshak pointed out, neither Girtin nor his early patron James Moore (1762–99) travelled as far north as Dunrobin on the north-east coast of Scotland, and if the work is by Girtin it must have been worked up from a drawing by another artist. This may have been Elizabeth Leveson-Gower (1765–1839), later Duchess of Sutherland, who was a good amateur artist and, indeed, was one of Girtin’s star pupils. She is known to have owned at least one watercolour by Girtin (TG1690) and was said to have favoured the artist for his ‘genius’ over his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), who merely ‘effect[ed] his purpose by industry’ (Morris, 2002a, p.256). Dunrobin Castle and its gardens were extensively remodelled between 1835 and 1850, and if the watercolour attributed to Girtin ever reappears we can expect to see a quite different view of the building and its coastal setting.


Kirkby Malham


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The Builder, vol.33, no.1687, 5 June 1875, p.499

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