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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

Furness Abbey

1792 - 1793


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Furness Abbey
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
15.9 × 21 cm, 6 ¼ × 8 ¼ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; The Lake District

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


Alfred Aspland (1815–80); his posthumous sale, Capes, Dunn, and Pilcher, Manchester, 1 May 1883, lot 47


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208 as 'Untraced ... Furness Abbey'

About this Work

This watercolour has not been seen in public since it appeared at auction in 1883. Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak nonetheless included it in their catalogue of the artist’s watercolours, but no photograph of the work is known to exist and there is therefore no way of knowing whether their attribution to Girtin is correct (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208). Although earlier generations of writers on the artist believed that Girtin visited the Lake District, including Girtin and Loshak, who suggested two trips, in 1800 and 1801, it is now clear that all of the artist’s Lake District views were made after the work of other artists (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, pp.41–42). Girtin’s earliest patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), may have passed through the region on the return leg of his Scottish tour in the autumn of 1792 and it is likely that he provided the model for this work. The only view by Moore of Furness Abbey to have survived was actually made after a drawing by Thomas Hearne (1744–1817) (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (WA1916.22.1)), but we can be reasonably sure that Girtin’s lost watercolour is after an untraced sketch by his patron for two reasons. Firstly, although the watercolour was not one of the hundred or so works by Girtin that were sold by Moore’s descendants after 1912, it was listed in the family collection in 1852 (Moore, Inventory, 1852).1 And, secondly, the work conformed to the standard size of the watercolours Girtin made after his patron’s sketches in the period 1792–93: approximately 16 × 21 cm (6 ¼ × 8 ¼ in).

Another larger watercolour of Furness Abbey was included in the sale in 1905 of Isabella Oswald, née Turrill (1838–1905), a distant relative of the artist (Exhibitions: Robins & Hine, 30 March 1905, lot 360). The whereabouts of this work are again unknown and it was included by Girtin and Loshak in their list of untraced drawings (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208).

by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The inventory is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1852 – Item 1).

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