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Works Thomas Girtin

Flint Castle

(?) 1798

Print after: Theodore Henry Adolphous Fielding (1781–1851), after Samuel Prout (1783–1852) 'from a Sketch by Girtin', engraving, hand-coloured, 'Flint Castle' for Thomas Compton, The Northern Cambrian Mountains, pl.35, 2nd edn., 1820, 14.9 × 23 cm, 5 ⅞ × 9 in. Tate (T11690).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Flint Castle
(?) 1798
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; North Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
The original known only from the print

About this Work

Flint Castle

This sketch by Girtin of Flint Castle is known only from a hand-coloured engraving that was published in 1820 (see the print after, above). It was one of two Girtin drawings engraved for the second edition of Thomas Compton’s (unknown dates) The Northern Cambrian Mountains; or, A Tour through North Wales, and the print notes that ‘the sketch’ was worked up by Samuel Prout (1783–1852), who presumably added the striking seascape to an outline drawing of the castle’s north-east tower, which, before the Dee estuary silted up, washed against its walls (Compton, 1820, pl.35). A pen and ink drawing that Girtin made from a sketch by his earliest patron, James Moore (1762–99) (TG0281), shows the same tower, but it was taken from a different viewpoint and it could not have been the drawing used by Prout. It is possible that Girtin made another outline drawing from a different view by Moore, but equally he may have sketched a view of Flint on his own visit to North Wales in 1798. No drawings survive to document a visit to the site, but the artist made sketches at the nearby Hawarden Castle (TG1350) and Holywell (TG1300), and, given that the image of the tower is truer in its proportions than the exaggerated form shown in Girtin’s copy of Moore’s drawing, this is the more likely scenario here. One thing is for certain, though. Girtin’s lost sketch of the tower would have been a simple outline drawing lacking any weather effect, which would have been improvised during the production of a studio watercolour.

Another view of Flint Castle (see figure 1), which until recently was attributed to Girtin, is actually a copy by John Henderson (1764–1843) of a print titled Scene on the French Coast from the collection of prints known as the Liber Studiorum based on the works of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), which was published in 1807 (Forrester, 1996, p.50).

1795 - 1796

Flint Castle


(?) 1798

Hawarden Castle


(?) 1798

St Winefride’s Well, Holywell


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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