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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

Hastings Castle and Priory Bridge

1793 - 1794

Primary Image: TG0314a: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), Hastings Castle and Priory Bridge, 1793–94, graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on paper, 19 × 26 cm, 7 ½ × 10 ¼ in. Hastings Museum and Art Gallery (1985.63).

Photo courtesy of Hastings Museum and Art Gallery (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Hastings Castle and Priory Bridge
1793 - 1794
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on paper
19 × 26 cm, 7 ½ × 10 ¼ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; Coasts and Shipping; Sussex View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)


Anthony Dallas & Sons, London; bought from them by the Museum, 1981

Exhibition History

Anthony Dallas, London, 1981 as ’A Castle on a Cliff Above the Sea’ (catalogue untraced); Hastings, 1991, no.10 as ’Hastings Castle’

About this Work

Hastings from the West

This early watercolour of Castle Cliff at Hastings is probably based on a sketch made on the spot by Girtin's master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), as the young artist certainly did not visit the Sussex coastal town at the outset of his career. The exact source has not been traced, but a more distant view of Hastings from the west by Dayes (see figure 1) includes the same stretch of the coast with the ruins of the castle perched on the cliff and a group of fishermen’s houses huddled on the beach below. Also evident in Dayes’ view is the same suggestion that the cliff assumes the form of a human face, something that Girtin again considerably exaggerates in a later pencil drawing (TG0314): literally, a cliff-face. The degree to which the artist has departed from the topography of the location to make his comic point can be more fully appreciated by comparing his view with Dayes' watercolour. Girtin’s scene is still recognisably Hastings, but, working from a secondhand source, he presumably felt able to take liberties with the topography and he has actually lowered the height of the cliff. Studying the location on the spot might also have encouraged the artist to make more out of the cliff-top ruins, which here lack any of the drama that Girtin imparted to the ruined coastal fortresses he sketched on his tour to the north east in 1796, such as Dunstanburgh Castle: The Lilburn Tower (TG1101). Indeed, it may even be that the work dates from a time, say, around 1793–94, when Girtin had not yet visited the coast, and this might help to explain why the view fails to convince either as a composition or as a portrait of a place.

1793 - 1794

Hastings: The View from East Hill Looking towards the Castle and West Hill


1797 - 1798

Dunstanburgh Castle: The Lilburn Tower


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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