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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

Kenilworth Castle: The View from the South

(?) 1795

Primary Image: TG0250: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), Kenilworth Castle: The View from the South, (?) 1795, graphite and watercolour on paper, 21.6 × 28.5 cm, 8 ½ × 11 ¼ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive, PA-F03344-0055 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Kenilworth Castle: The View from the South
(?) 1795
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
21.6 × 28.5 cm, 8 ½ × 11 ¼ in
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; The Midlands

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
122 as 'Kenilworth Castle'; '1795'
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue; Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive


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, £20; bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons (stock no.7988), 10 April 1913; bought by Lady Beatrice Thynne (1867–1941), 2 May 1919, £31 10s; Spink & Son Ltd, London, 1953; H. M. Langton; Sotheby’s, 30 November 1978, lot 121, unsold; Spink & Son Ltd, London; Sotheby’s, 8 April 1998, lot 57, £6,325

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1914, no.46; Agnew’s, 1919, no.146; Spink's, London, 1981b, no.86


Finberg, 1919, p.26

About this Work

Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak argued that this watercolour was ‘possibly redrawn’ from one of the ‘pencil studies’ produced by Girtin on the tour of the Midland counties that he undertook in the company of his first significant patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), in the summer of 1794 (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.150). However, there is no proof that the two men visited either Kenilworth or nearby Warwick, and it looks increasingly likely that this watercolour and another view of the castle (TG0288) were produced after the work of another artist. In this case it must have been Moore himself, who is known from dated drawings as having visited the castle in October 1789 and who, as the first owner, presumably commissioned the work. Girtin certainly appears to have used two of Moore’s Kenilworth sketches from that earlier tour as the basis for pencil drawings (TG0128 and TG0153), probably around 1792–93, though on stylistic grounds this watercolour probably dates from a few years later, as Girtin and Loshak argue. However, their additional suggestion that the use of the restricted palette seen here means that the work was ‘intended to be completed’ as a fully coloured watercolour and that it was effectively left unfinished is not so tenable (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.150). If, as I suspect, Girtin did not visit Kenilworth or Warwick, then the rapid application of monochrome washes over a prominent outline in this work, as with comparable contemporary views such as Pegwell Bay (TG0217), suggests the production of a very different commodity: an informal sketch-like drawing that gives the impression of having been made on the spot. Therefore, despite the rather crude circularity of the argument presented here, the incompatibility of the informal handling of the watercolour washes and the rather formulaic composition suggest that Girtin worked from a drawing that Moore made in order to show off the impressive extent of the works undertaken by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532–88), at Kenilworth in the sixteenth century. Girtin’s view, I suggest, follows the patron’s antiquarian interests even as it reflects a change in the artist’s aesthetic priorities commensurate with a later date.

1794 - 1795

The Ruins of the Great Hall, Kenilworth Castle


1792 - 1793

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle


1792 - 1793

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle, with Leicester’s Gatehouse in the Distance


(?) 1795

Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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