Most of Lascelles’ commissions from Girtin are Yorkshire scenes, but the earliest show views in North Wales and there is at least one other that, like this one, seems to have been derived from a sketch made on the artist’s 1796 tour to the north east and the Scottish Borders (TG1104). The fact that there is a dated view of Jedburgh Abbey from Jed Water produced in 1801 (TG1722) does not necessarily mean that the artist returned to the area later in his career. Although the sketch for this view does not appear to have survived, it is unlikely to have been substantially different from the finished watercolour. For Girtin, the act of sketching was more than just about recording the details of a landscape, as the drawing invariably fixed the form of the composition too. As a print after Charles Catton’s (1728–98) similar view of the abbey from the south east shows (see figure 1), Girtin’s selection of a position closer to the bridge resulted in a greater emphasis on the picturesque cottages in the foreground, and he did not have to change the position of any of the foreground elements to suit his purpose. It seems that the women washing clothes were a common sight on this stretch of the river, and this detail was not invented by Girtin either, though arguably the figures are rather closer to those found in one of the prints after Marco Ricci (1676–1730) (see figure 2) that he copied on a number of occasions.
1800 - 1801
On the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey
1800 - 1801
Jedburgh Abbey, from the South East
1798 - 1799
Jedburgh Abbey, from Jed Water