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Works Thomas Girtin

Lincoln, from the Brayford Pool

1794 - 1795

Print after: Bartholomew Howlett (1767–1827), after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), etching and engraving, 'Lincoln' for A Selection of Views in the County of Lincoln, 25 March 1797, 21.3 × 26.3 cm, 8 ⅜ × 10 ⅜ in. British Museum, London (1878,1214.515).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Lincoln, from the Brayford Pool
1794 - 1795
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
22.5 × 27.3 cm, 8 ⅞ × 10 ¾ in
Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Cathedral View; River Scenery

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


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)

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.40


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.209

About this Work

This untraced watercolour of a distant view of Lincoln Cathedral is known only from an engraving that was made by Bartholomew Howlett (1767–1827) for his A Selection of Views in the County of Lincoln and published in 1797 (see the print after, above) (Howlett, 1805). Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak recorded the watercolour as coming from the collection of Girtin’s earliest patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99) (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.209). However, there are no records of the work following the collection’s dispersal by Moore’s descendants around 1912, and it is not known to have been photographed. It is not possible to say, therefore, whether the watercolour was made from an on-the-spot sketch taken by Girtin in 1794 (on his first substantial trip out of London, made in the company of Moore) or rather, as was so often the case, whether it was executed from a sketch made by the patron himself, perhaps on his 1789 trip to Lincoln. However, the fact that it is recorded by Girtin and Loshak as being larger than the standard size of the copies that Girtin made after Moore’s sketches (8 ⅞ × 10 ¾ in, 22.5 × 27.3 cm) suggests that it resulted from the 1794 tour and that the patron, as with the other view of Lincoln that was engraved by Howlett from a drawing by Girtin (see print after TG1008), lent the publisher a drawing that he had commissioned from his protégé.

The fact that the watercolour is missing is a considerable source of frustration since it would be fascinating to see how Girtin treated a more distant view of Lincoln Cathedral compared with the view of the west front (TG1008), which concentrates on the architecture of the building. It would be interesting, too, to contrast Girtin’s view with Turner’s roughly contemporary watercolour (see figure 1), which was also taken from the Brayford Pool, the spot where the river Witham broadens out about a kilometre to the south west of the cathedral. There is no question of the two young artists being influenced by each other, however. Instead, it seems that both looked independently to Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), whose 1788 Norwich Cathedral, from the River Wensum (see figure 2) provided a fine model for how a medieval monument might be integrated into a view of the modern city with its busy working river shown to the fore.


Lincoln Cathedral, from the West



Lincoln Cathedral, from the West


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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