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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

Llanthony Priory

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0173: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804), Llanthony Priory, 1792–93, watercolour on paper, 16.5 × 21.6 cm, 6 ½ × 8 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • Llanthony Priory
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
16.5 × 21.6 cm, 6 ½ × 8 ½ in
Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; South Wales

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954; Girtin Archive Photograph


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); left his collection by 1911; Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1914

About this Work

This view by Girtin of the north transept and crossing tower of Llanthony Abbey in the Black Mountains, South Wales, has not been seen since 1914 and is known only from a black and white photograph. The work came onto the art market from the family collection of James Moore (1762–99), the amateur artist and antiquarian who was Girtin’s first patron. Moore visited South Wales in 1787 and produced a series of sketches, some of which were published as aquatints in Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales (Moore, 1792), although this was not one of the subjects worked up by George Isham Parkyns (1749–c.1820) for that publication. The original drawing by Moore has not been traced, but the family provenance suggests that Girtin’s watercolour was commissioned by his early patron as a finished, professional realisation of one of Moore’s rather mundane sketches, and Girtin certainly never visited the site himself. Girtin is documented as having worked for Moore between October 1792 and February 1793 for a fee of six shillings a day, producing watercolours on paper all measuring roughly 6 ½ × 8 ½ in (16.5 × 21.5 cm), with each work originally carefully mounted with an inscription added by the patron (Moore, Payments, 1792–93). 1 This drawing, even from a poor image, looks to be typical of the seventy or so small watercolours that Girtin produced for Moore and that remained in the ownership of his descendants until the collection was broken up after 1912.

Llanthony Abbey

As with so many of Girtin’s works made for Moore, there are other watercolours by his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), of the same or similar compositions from the same date. Dayes often copied his compositions from Moore, but in this case he had recently visited Llanthony in person and it is possible that Girtin’s work may have been after an untraced sketch by his master rather than Moore. Two similar views of the north transept and crossing, albeit with more of the nave visible, have been traced (see figure 1), and one is dated 1792. The work by Dayes in the Yale Center for British Art measures roughly the same as Girtin’s watercolour and the title is inscribed on the mount in a form that Moore used on Girtin’s drawings, so there is a possibility that it too was made for their mutual patron. If this is the case, the composition, which is rather more complex than was customary for works derived from Moore’s sketches, may have been Dayes’, particularly as there is no conclusive evidence that the patron did in fact visit Llanthony.

by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The document detailing the payments made to the young Girtin by Moore is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1792–93 – Item 1).

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