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Works James Moore and Thomas Girtin

Icklesham Church


Primary Image: TG0337a: James Moore (1762–99) and Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Icklesham Church, 1795, graphite on wove paper, 16.7 × 22.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ⅞ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1916.20.30).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

James Moore (1762-1799) and Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Icklesham Church
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
16.7 × 22.5 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ⅞ in

'Icklesham Ch. Sept 5th. 95' lower right, by James Moore; 'Sept 5th. 95' lower right, by James Moore

Object Type
Collaborations; Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Parish Church; Sussex View

Icklesham Church (TG0337)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2016


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought and presented anonymously to the Museum, 1916


Brown, 1982, p.472, no.1418 as 'Icklesham Ch. Sept 5th. 95' by James Moore

About this Work

This pencil drawing showing the nave of the church of All Saints at Icklesham in Sussex was made in 1795 by Girtin’s first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99), on the third tour he undertook to record the county’s medieval castles and churches. It is contained in an album assembled from fifty-three drawings that were acquired by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, from Moore’s descendants after 1912. They were catalogued by David Brown as being by Moore himself, but Brown added a note to a sketch of St Clement’s Church, Hastings (TG0308), suggesting that Girtin may also have ‘taken a hand’ in the drawing (Brown, 1982, p.471). I think it is possible to go a step further and propose that, given up to half of the drawings in the album are significantly stronger than Moore’s generally unconvincing sketches, such as Interior of the Albion Mills after the Fire (see source image TG0114), the professional artist had a ‘hand’ in many more of his patron’s outlines. The contrast in quality between the sketch of the Albion Mills and this drawing is so great, particularly in the architectural details, that it is clear that Icklesham Church has been corrected and enhanced by a superior artist using a sharper and more richly toned piece of graphite. The drawing is typical of the way in which Moore’s tentative outlines have been firmed up, his faulty perspective corrected and an exuberant level of decorative detail added. The manner in which the artist varies the pressure applied to the graphite to introduce subtle variations in tone, even within the same line, is characteristic of Girtin’s fine draughtsmanship, and it was surely he who elaborated Moore’s on-the-spot drawing back in London on his patron’s return. It is highly unlikely that Girtin himself visited Icklesham, which is between Hastings and Rye, not far from Winchelsea, all places depicted by Moore during a tour of Sussex that, contrary to the opinions of earlier writers, was unaccompanied (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.28).

Moore made another drawing of the fine church at Icklesham showing the east end of the building (TG0337b), and he also commissioned a finished watercolour of this sketch from Girtin on his return from Sussex (TG0337). The view concentrates on the aisleless nave with its massive roof dating from around 1100, and the later north tower, all of which remain substantially unchanged.

(?) 1795

The West Tower, St Clement’s Church, Hastings; Studies of a Horse in Harness and Numerous Architectural Details


1792 - 1793

The Albion Mills, Southwark, after the Fire


(?) 1795

The East End of Icklesham Church


(?) 1795

Icklesham Church


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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