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Works Thomas Girtin

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough (page 20 of the Whitworth Book of Drawings)

(?) 1800

Primary Image: TG1604: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough, (?) 1800, graphite on wove paper, 14.6 × 21.7 cm, 5 ¾ × 8 ½ in. The Whitworth, The University of Manchester (D.1977.15.20).

Photo courtesy of The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Photo by Michael Pollard (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough (page 20 of the Whitworth Book of Drawings)
(?) 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
14.6 × 21.7 cm, 5 ¾ × 8 ½ in

‘37’ lower right

Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing; Replica by Girtin
Subject Terms
River Scenery; Yorkshire View

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough (TG1509)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
371 as 'Grimbald Bridge'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001, 2002 and 2022


Sale at Platt Vicarage, Rusholme, Manchester, 1898; sketchbook bought by 'Shepherd'; then by descent to F. W. Shepherd; his sale, Sotheby’s, 7 July 1977, lot 46; bought by Baskett and Day; bought by the Gallery, 1977


Hardie, 1938–39, no.7, p.93; Hill, 1999, p.44

About this Work

This view of Grimabald Bridge near Knaresborough in Yorkshire was copied from a smaller sketch that dates from either 1799 or more probably 1800 (TG1509), and it is one of three examples in the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1323, TG1324 and TG1600–1625) that can definitively be shown to be replicas of earlier on-the-spot drawings (the others being TG1601 and TG1620). The latter view, of Middleham, appears to have been traced from its source (TG1508), a drawing dated 1799, whereas the original drawing here is smaller in scale (11.4 × 17.5 cm, 4 ½ × 6 ⅞ in), and the copy must therefore have been drawn into the book freehand. Even so, differences are difficult to detect and, initially at least, it is hard to appreciate what Girtin was up to in producing what David Hill has termed an ‘improbably faithful replica’, which led him to wonder whether what I take to be the original was not in fact created by the artist’s brother, John Girtin (1773–1821) (Hill, 1995, p.62). I suspect the answer is rather more prosaic, stemming from the ready market for Girtin’s sketches, both in pencil and in colours, that the artist succeeded in building up over the years. The likeliest scenario is that, as in the case of the Middleham sketch, Girtin found a purchaser for his on-the-spot drawing of Grimbald Bridge and that, prior to parting with it, he produced a replica either in the Book of Drawings or on a piece of paper that was later bound into it. This could then be shown to potential clients and used as the basis for a watercolour commission, though equally it too might find a purchaser, who would have no reason to think that the replica was not sketched on the spot. The bridge, which carries the old Knaresborough to Wetherby road, stands a few hundred metres downstream from a building that is the subject of another sketch in the Book of Drawings, the Abbey Mill (TG1607). Grimbald Bridge might therefore have made a fine pair to the watercolour of the mill scene (TG1672), though no commission seem to have been secured.

1799 - 1800

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough


(?) 1801

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


(?) 1801

Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond



Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond


(?) 1800

The Abbey Mill, near Knaresborough


1800 - 1801

The Abbey Mill, near Knaresborough


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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