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Works Thomas Girtin

Llawhaden Castle Gatehouse

(?) 1791


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Llawhaden Castle Gatehouse
(?) 1791
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work from a Known Source: Contemporary British
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; South Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Greenwood, 25 January 1792, lot 66 as 'Leihaiden castle gate, by Girtin'

About this Work

George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824), after James Moore (1762–99), aquatint, 'Llehaiden Castle' for <io>Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales</i>, p.23, 1 July 1791 (this image from 1820), 10.1 × 7.4 cm, 4 × 2 ⅞ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

Girtin’s untraced watercolour of the gatehouse of Llawhaden Castle in South Wales dates from the period of his apprenticeship to Edward Dayes (1763–1804) and it was his master who sent it to auction in January 1792, where lot 66 was listed as ‘Leihaiden castle gate, by Girtin’ (Exhibitions: Greenwood, 25 January 1792). As with a number of other watercolours, such as Durham Cathedral, from the River Wear (TG0012) and Rochester, from the River Medway (TG0015), Dayes was hoping to profit from the precocious skills of his pupil, as Girtin’s apprenticeship was apparently set to end prematurely.

Although the work has not been seen since the 1792 sale, we can get an idea of its appearance from an aquatint made by George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824) after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see figure 1). During the period of Girtin’s apprenticeship, Dayes was employed by Moore to produce polished professional versions of his field sketches, a task that Girtin himself was to take up soon after, and it is likely that a drawing made by Moore at Llawhaden on 25 July 1788, also untraced, was the basis for Girtin’s lost watercolour. Girtin’s view of Llawhaden was doubly significant therefore, being the first of as many as a hundred or so versions that he made of Moore’s sketches and also providing evidence that the young artist’s first significant patron came through his work in Dayes’ studio.


Durham Cathedral, from the River Wear



Rochester, from the River Medway


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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