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Works Thomas Girtin


(?) 1800


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Knaresborough
(?) 1800
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
31.1 × 51.4 cm, 12 ¼ × 20 ¼ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Richard Johnson (lent to London, 1875); his sale, J. C. Platt, London, 26 April 1912, lot 886; bought by 'Palser'; J. Palser & Sons (stock no.17096); bought by P. Philips, 19 July 1912

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.134 as 'Knaresborough'


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.209

About this Work

This view of Knaresborough has not been seen in public since it was sold by J. Palser & Sons in 1912, and no photographic record is known. The watercolour was included in the Girtin centenary exhibition in 1875, and it was therefore thought at one point to have been of some significance, though not all of the works shown then have stood the test of time (Exhibitions: London, 1875, no.134). The work’s measurements, 12 ½ × 20 ¼ in (31.8 × 51.4 cm) conform to the standard size of watercolour that Girtin supplied around 1800 to Samuel William Reynolds (1773–1835), who acted on behalf of the artist in his final years in a role somewhere between agent and dealer, and it is possible that it is a late work based on a pencil sketch (TG1511) that probably dates from that year. The recent discovery that the drawing hitherto known as ‘River Scene’ (TG1549) shows a view on the river Nidd at Knaresborough opens up the possibility that this untraced view is actually the same work as the watercolour in the collection of the British Museum. That work has no early provenance and given that TG1671 is recorded as having the same measurements there is a good chance that TG1549 and TG1671 are one and the same and that the entries should therefore be merged. My first thought that the lost drawing showed the view from the High Bridge, with the ruins of the castle on the facing rocky ridge, as depicted by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) in TG1397, is likely to be wrong therefore.

The Girtin Archive (27) includes extensive correspondence regarding another Knaresborough subject, a view of the celebrated Dripping Well. The watercolour was not included by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak in their catalogue of the artist’s works, however, no doubt because of concerns about its authenticity (Girtin and Loshak, 1954).

1799 - 1800

Knaresborough Castle, from the High Bridge


1800 - 1801

Buildings on the River Nidd, near Knaresborough


1797 - 1798

Knaresborough, from the River Nidd


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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