For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin

Easby Abbey, from the River Swale

1800 - 1810

Primary Image: TG1060: An Unknown Artist, after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Easby Abbey, from the River Swale, 1800–10, graphite, watercolour and scratching out on laid paper, 25.6 × 40 cm, 10 ⅛ × 15 ¾ in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1908 (08.162.2).

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1908 (Public Domain)

Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Easby Abbey, from the River Swale
1800 - 1810
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and scratching out on laid paper
25.6 × 40 cm, 10 ⅛ × 15 ¾ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; River Scenery; Yorkshire View

Easby Abbey, from the River Swale (TG1058)
Easby Abbey, from the River Swale (TG1059)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
333 as 'Easby (St. Agatha's) Abbey, Yorkshire'; '1799–1800'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


Charles James Pooley (1836–1900); his sale, Christie’s, 6 March 1880, lot 26 as 'St Agatha’s Abbey'; bought by 'Grundy', 19 gns; Alfred Aspland (1815-80); his posthumous sale, Sotheby's, 27 January 1885, lot 166; bought by 'Riggall', £1 10s; Dr Edward Riggall (1817–1900); his posthumous sale, Sotheby's, 4 July 1901, lot 121; bought by 'Chalkland', £1 2s; J. Palser & Sons (stock no.15566); bought by Thos. Agnew & Sons, 8 February 1905 (stock no.4749); bought by Roger Fry, 24 February 1908, £40, on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum, New York

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1905, no.81; Agnew’s, 1908, no.123


Holmes, 1908, pp.375–76, p.381; Carlisle, 1950, p.23; Museum Website as '19th-century British copy' (Accessed 15/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of the west range of St Agatha’s Abbey at Easby, on the river Swale, was catalogued by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak as an autograph work by Girtin and they dated it to 1799–1800 (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.179). Although the work’s condition has been severely compromised by fading, so that the blues and greens have been reduced to a dull, lifeless monochrome, it is so clearly a poor-quality copy of a composition of which there are two versions (TG1058 and TG1059) that it is difficult to understand why its attribution was not questioned much earlier though the fact that it did not reappear in public until an auction in 1970 was no doubt a factor. The similarity in the scale between the two works and details such as the indistinct form of the figure suggest that it was the watercolour catalogued as TG1058 that was the source for the copy and not the smaller version of the composition (TG1059) which was likewise not included in the earlier catalogue despite its links with other northern subjects made for the print trade (such as TG1115).

Another work that was formerly attributed to Girtin, An Unidentified Landscape with a Church amongst Trees, in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (TG1775), is also on laid paper and has similarly faded to a range of greys and dull muddy greens. It is currently attributed to William Pearson (1772–1849), a competent professional artist who was inspired by Girtin’s works and seems to have copied them on occasion (see TG1229 figure 1) (Tonkin, 1983, pp.27–34). Contrary to the opinion of Girtin and Loshak, there is no evidence that Pearson forged Girtin’s works for financial reward, and if this copy is by him, something that is admittedly impossible to prove, it is likely to have been made in homage to an admired master (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.123).

1797 - 1799

Easby Abbey, from the River Swale


1796 - 1797

Etal Castle


1798 - 1805

An Unidentified Landscape with a Church amongst Trees


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.