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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

Jedburgh Abbey, from the East

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0104: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762–99), Jedburgh Abbey, from the East, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original washline mount, 16.8 × 21.8 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ½ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.1145).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Print after: John Walker (active 1776–1802), 'after an Original Drawing by Jas Moore Esq.r F.A.S.' (James Moore (1762–99)), etching and engraving, 'Jedburgh Abbey, Roxburghshire' for The Copper-Plate Magazine, vol.3, no.71, pl.142, 1 December 1797, 15 × 20 cm, 5 ⅞ × 7 ⅞ in. British Museum, London (1862,0712.987).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), Jedburgh Abbey, 21 August 1792, graphite on wove paper, 18.1 × 22.9 cm, 7 ⅛ × 9 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.705).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Jedburgh Abbey, from the East
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original washline mount
16.8 × 21.8 cm, 6 ⅝ × 8 ½ in
Mount Dimensions
25 × 29.7 cm, 10 ¾ × 11 ⅝ in

‘Girtin’ lower centre, by Thomas Girtin

Part of
Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; The Scottish Borders

Jedburgh Abbey, from the East (TG0086)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
36 as 'Jedburgh Abbey, Roxburgh'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


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 by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), 1912, £25; given to Tom Girtin (1913–94), c.1938; bought by John Baskett on behalf of Paul Mellon (1907–99), 1970; presented to the Center, 1975

Exhibition History

New Haven, 1986a, no.10


Gibson, 1916, p.215

About this Work

This watercolour by Girtin showing Jedburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders, was made after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see source image above), and the artist did not visit the site himself until 1796. Girtin’s earliest patron visited the country in the late summer of 1792 and his sketch of the partially ruined abbey church is dated 21 August. Girtin is documented as having worked for Moore between October 1792 and February 1793 for a fee of six shillings a day, producing watercolours on paper generally measuring roughly 6 ½ × 8 ½ in (16.5 × 21.5 cm), each with its own distinctive washline mount, which in this case has survived (Moore, Payments, 1792–93).1 In all Girtin painted seventy or so small watercolours after Moore’s sketches, including about thirty compositions derived from drawings made on the trip to Scotland. Moore employed other artists to work up his sketches for reproduction, including Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), but it seems that the seventeen-year-old artist, who may still have been an apprentice at this date, was tasked with simply producing the best watercolours he could from the little more than functional records produced by the antiquarian. Moore’s collection of watercolours by Girtin, which eventually numbered over a hundred, remained in the ownership of his descendants until it was broken up after 1912, when this work was acquired by a great-grandson of the artist, Thomas Girtin (1874–1960).

Many of the watercolours Moore commissioned from professional artists after his sketches were reproduced in his own antiquarian publications, but the print after this drawing was published instead by John Walker (active 1776–1802) in his Copper-Plate Magazine (see the print after, above) (Walker, 1792–1802, vol.3). Moore lent a number of Girtin’s drawings to Walker for engraving, but in this case he presumably omitted to mention that the watercolour was made by a professional artist after his own sketch as it appeared in 1797 inscribed ‘after an Original Drawing by Jas Moore Esqr. F. A. S.’. There is no doubt, however, that the print was made after Girtin’s watercolour as it reproduces the same rider and group of horses introduced by the artist, together with the attractive skyscape he developed. Moore’s drawing, in comparison, is typical of the amateur’s work in lacking staffage, the building is set back at a distance beyond a featureless foreground, and the work lacks the subtle light effects that came easily to the professional artist. Another version of Moore’s composition, with a different set of figures, may be by Dayes rather than Girtin (TG0086).

1792 - 1793

Jedburgh Abbey, from the East


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The document detailing the payments made to the young Girtin by Moore is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1792–93 – Item 1).

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