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Works Thomas Girtin

Lindisfarne Castle

(?) 1796

Primary Image: TG1112: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Lindisfarne Castle, (?) 1796, graphite on wove paper, 26.5 × 21.4 cm, 10 ⅜ × 8 ⅜ in. Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Marjorie Kreilick McNab (1994.814).

Photo courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Marjorie Kreilick McNab (CC0 1.0 Universal)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Lindisfarne Castle
(?) 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
26.5 × 21.4 cm, 10 ⅜ × 8 ⅜ in
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; Durham and Northumberland

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Marjorie Kreilick McNab; presented to the Museum, 1994

About this Work

This slight pencil sketch shows Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland, viewed from the harbour to the east of the priory on Holy Island looking north, and it was probably made in 1796 on Girtin’s first independent sketching tour. Only one of the twenty or so pencil drawings and on-the-spot colour sketches that survive from the trip is dated, but it is still broadly possible to trace Girtin’s progress through Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders from the titles of the works that he sent to the 1797 Royal Academy exhibition, and from the dated watercolours that were subsequently produced from these and other untraced sketches. Unusually for Girtin, this sketch did not form the basis of a finished studio watercolour, though a different view of the sixteenth-century castle perched on a rocky outcrop was realised as a dramatic watercolour sometime around 1797 (TG1113). The artist also exhibited two works with the title ‘St. Cuthbert’s Cathedral, Holy Island’ at the Royal Academy in the same year (Exhibitions: Royal Academy, London, 1797, nos.434 and 763), and there can be little doubt that this and two other extant sketches of Lindisfarne were made on the 1796 trip (TG1105 and TG1109). The on-the-spot sketch for the finished watercolour of Lindisfarne Castle has not survived, but it is unlikely to have been any more substantial than this drawing; a simple outline such as this contains all the basic topographical information needed for an artist of talent to flesh out a dramatic and convincing landscape.

1796 - 1797

Lindisfarne Castle


(?) 1796

Lindisfarne: An Interior View of the Ruins of the Priory Church


(?) 1796

An Exterior View of the Ruins of Lindisfarne Priory Church


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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