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Works Thomas Girtin

Landscape with a Farmhouse and Cottage

(?) 1800

Primary Image: TG1804: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), Landscape with a Farmhouse and Cottage, watercolour on wove paper, 14.9 × 17.2 cm, 5¾ × 6¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Woolley & Wallis

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Landscape with a Farmhouse and Cottage
(?) 1800
Medium and Support
Watercolour on wove paper
14.9 × 17.2 cm, 5 ¾ × 6 ¾ in
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work
Subject Terms
Picturesque Vernacular; Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Online Auction Catalogue


Squire Gallery, London, April 1937; bought from them by Leonard Gordon Duke (1890–1971) as unattributed, £2 10s (D717); ... Woolley & Wallis, 14 September 2022, lot 1090; Hawes Fine Art, London

About this Work

This rather faded watercolour study, showing a farmhouse and cottage, is related to a group of sketches of rural buildings that Girtin made towards the end of his life, such as A Barn by a Road (TG1793), though it is slightly larger in scale. The group of fifteen drawings appear to have come from one of the 'little Books partly of sketches and partly blank paper' that were probably split up for sale after his death by his brother, John Girtin (1773–1821).1 It is unlikely that this drawing also comes from a book, not sharing its dimensions with any other of the other sketches, but it employs a similar palette, and the subject too is closely related to a number of examples in the group at the British Museum, all from the collection of Chambers Hall (1786–1855). Some of these are clearly imaginary, but others, as here, resemble the picturesque vernacular subjects gathered by Girtin in Essex three or four years earlier (such as TG1757). The latter point has led me to conclude that, although they were evidently created at speed, studies such as this were not coloured on the spot and were painted instead in the studio to satisfy the market for the less formal aspects of the artist’s output. The first recorded owner of the sketch, the eminent collector Leonard Gordon Duke (1890–1971) believed that it was sketched from nature, however, and it was he who related it to one of the group in the British Museum, A Farm beyond a Field (TG1797), describing it as a 'companion' which 'may represent the same farm and have been made on the same day.2 Whilst acknowledging the similarities in the palette and the subject matter as well as the sense of dispatch with which they were painted, I still believe that such works were produced in the studio. Rather than being sketched from life 'on the same day', as Duke suggested, I suspect that Girtin worked on more than one sketch at the same time, with the artist moving from one sheet to another, adding a single tone to each in turn, and that this would more properly account for the visual similarities between works such as TG1797 and TG1804.

(?) 1802

A Barn by a Road


1800 - 1801

A Farmyard with Cattle, Poultry and Labourers Unloading Hay, Possibly Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter


1801 - 1802

A Farm beyond a Field


1801 - 1802

A Farm beyond a Field


(?) 1800



  1. 1 Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804. John’s accounts, detailing the material he appropriated from his brother’s studio, are transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1804 – Item 1).
  2. 2 Quoted from Duke’s manuscript catalogue of his collection, held by the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

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