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Works Thomas Girtin

Kelso Abbey: The West Front

(?) 1796


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Kelso Abbey: The West Front
(?) 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite on paper
22.9 × 18.4 cm, 9 × 7 ¼ in
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; The Scottish Borders

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
169 as 'Kelso Abbey, Roxburgh'
Description Source(s)
Sale Catalogue; Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Sotheby's, 25 July 1945, lot 3 as 'A Volume of Drawings'; bought by 'Colnaghi', £42; Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1948 (stock no.5140); bought by Frances E. Penrose (Girtin and Loshak, 1954)

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1948, no.102

About this Work

This pencil sketch of Kelso Abbey was recorded by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak as being in a private collection in 1954, when they described it as showing ‘a near view’ of the ruined west front (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.157). The drawing does not seem to have been photographed and it has not been possible to confirm the authors’ claim that it was produced in 1796 on Girtin’s first independent tour, to the north east and to the Scottish Borders. Girtin made a number of views of Kelso from the work of other artists (such as TG0270 and TG0270a), whilst one of the two later watercolours showing the west front of the ruined abbey is dated 1800 (TG1717). Given that Girtin made a second trip to the Borders in the late summer of 1800, it is possible that those works were made after a sketch taken then and, indeed, it may also be the case that Girtin did not visit the town in 1796 after all and that this sketch in fact dates from later. Only the reappearance of the drawing will settle the issue, though I suspect that Girtin and Loshak got the date right and that this drawing is one of twenty or so sketches that survive from that earlier tour.

(?) 1795

Kelso Abbey, from the North West


1795 - 1796

Kelso Abbey, from the North West



Kelso Abbey: The West Front


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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