For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin

Kidwelly Church

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG0278: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Kidwelly Church, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on laid paper (card), 7.7 × 12 cm, 3 × 4 ¾ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXIX, 9 (D36636).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Kidwelly Church
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper (card)
7.7 × 12 cm, 3 × 4 ¾ in
Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Parish Church; South Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in January 2018


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 26 June 1833, lot 81 or 82 as 'Views and ruins, in colours, on cards 10'; bought by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), £8 18s; accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856

Exhibition History

National Gallery, London, on display up to 1904, no.817d


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1243 as '"Kidwelly Church," near Caermarthen' by Thomas Girtin; Finberg, 1913, p.62

About this Work

This informal colour sketch of Kidwelly Church in Carmarthenshire is based on TG0264 and is one of twenty or so small-scale watercolours that Girtin made after outline drawings that he had copied from the sketches of either his first significant patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), or his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), and Girtin certainly did not visit the site himself. The watercolours, all painted on card measuring roughly 3 × 4 ¾ in (7.6 × 12.1 cm), were produced for Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), at whose posthumous sale they were purchased by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). Girtin generally followed Moore’s pencil outlines closely, but in this case he trimmed the composition to the right, all but excluding the view of Kidwelly Castle, which was a prominent feature in Moore’s original composition (see TG0264 figure 1). It has been suggested that Monro may have had a publication in mind when he commissioned Girtin to produce these watercolours, their small scale being suited to their reproduction as illustrations (Wilton, 1984a, p.12). This may have been the case, but the subjects chosen seem to follow no obvious pattern other than being generally amongst the lesser known of the nation’s medieval monuments.

The paper is discoloured as a result of excessive exposure to light whilst on long-term exhibition. The differently toned areas, top and left, were protected by an earlier mount.

1794 - 1795

Kidwelly Church, with the Castle Beyond


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.