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Works Thomas Girtin

Malmesbury Market Cross

(?) 1797

Primary Image: TG1291: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), Malmesbury Market Cross, (?) 1797, graphite on wove paper, 25.5 × 33.5 cm, 10 × 13 ¼ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Malmesbury Market Cross
(?) 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
25.5 × 33.5 cm, 10 × 13 ¼ in

‘Malmesbury’ lower left, by (?) Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Domestic Buildings; The Village; Wiltshire View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Squire Gallery, London, 1938; Pierre Jeannerat (1896–1967); Sotheby’s, 15 March 1984, lot 39, £1,045; Spink & Son Ltd, London

Exhibition History

Squire Gallery, 1938a, no.40; Spink’s, London, 1985, no.3

About this Work

The discovery during the preparation of this online catalogue that Girtin’s other drawing of the elaborately carved late fifteenth-century market cross in Malmesbury was copied from the work of another artist (TG1292), and that he therefore did not sketch it on the spot on the return from his trip to the West Country in 1797, has inevitably led to questions about the status of this work too. This different view of the octagonal cross, looking north west to the spire of St Paul’s Church, was ascribed by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak to the 1797 journey and, although I have only had access to a black and white photograph of the drawing, it does indeed appear to have a strong claim to be an on-the-spot sketch. This particular view, with the ornate central lantern balanced by the steeple to the right, and the sundial visible in the centre, was the subject of a number of prints and drawings, but I have not been able to locate any example dating from earlier than 1809. Although that does not mean that Girtin did not work from an untraced drawing by his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), or his early patron James Moore (1762–99), I suspect in this case that Girtin did make the sketch on the spot in 1797. One detail not noted in any of the other images I have found, which might substantiate this, is the easily overlooked fingerpost in the centre of the composition. This is the sort of detail that is likely to be missed out in a copy, but it might have caught the attention of an artist working on site.

1795 - 1796

Malmesbury: The Market Cross


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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