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Works Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner after (?) James Moore

Mickleham Church

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0860: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), Mickleham Church, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 21.1 × 28.7 cm, 8 ¼ × 11 ¼ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXV, 3 (D36524).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Mickleham Church
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an early mount
21.1 × 28.7 cm, 8 ¼ × 11 ¼ in
Mount Dimensions
25 x 32.5 cm, 9 ⅞ × 12 ¾ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Parish Church; Surrey View

Mickleham Church (TG0351)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
124i as by Thomas Girtin; '1795'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in December 2017


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 26 June 1833, lot 100 as 'Boxhill, Hadley, and Mickleham churches, &c. 4' by 'Turner'; bought by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), £2 5s; accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856

Exhibition History

Sixth Loan Collection, 1896-1931, no.34


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1234 as by Thomas Girtin; Brown, 1982, pp.333–34; Turner Online as by Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Girtin, c.1796 (Accessed 13/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of the church of St Michael and All Angels in Mickleham in Surrey is one of two watercolours showing the building from the north east (the other being TG0351). The drawing was bought at the posthumous sale of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) and can be identified as one of the four items in lot 100 that were identified as being by ‘TURNER, R.A.’ (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 26 June 1833, lot 100). However, the online catalogue of the Turner Bequest describes the work as a collaboration with Girtin, who it says provided the pencil outline for his colleague to add simple washes of blue and grey. In contrast, Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak, the authors of the 1954 catalogue of Girtin’s watercolours, thought that the work was by him alone, and they dated it to 1795, though they did not explain why (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.151). Presumably, it was because they believed that the work, unlike the vast majority of the Girtin–Turner collaborations produced for Monro, was not copied from another source, and that instead it was sketched by Girtin on the spot. This is certainly a possibility, given that Mickleham is close to Fetcham, where Monro rented a cottage between the years of 1795 and 1805, and there is even evidence that Girtin visited his patron there. John Linnell (1792–1882), who knew Monro at a slightly later date, claimed that he took Girtin, as well as Turner, ‘out to one or other of his country houses or elsewhere to sketch for him from Nature’ (Story, 1892, vol.1, p.41), and the catalogue of his posthumous sale lists a number of other Surrey scenes by Girtin, including views of nearby Box Hill as well as Norbury Park, together with the local churches of Effingham (TG0345) and Capel (TG0857) (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 1 July 1833, lots 112, 114, 116 and 119).

George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824), after Joseph Charles Barrow (c.1759–1804), aquatint, hand-coloured, 'Mickleham' for <i>Picturesque Views of Churches</i>, 2 January 1792, 29.2 × 36.5 cm, 11 ½ × 14 ⅜ in. British Museum, London (1953,0214.13).

Having admitted such a possibility, I am nonetheless inclined to favour the idea that this work does not depart from the typical Monro School collaborations between Girtin and Turner, not least because both the pencil drawing and the washes of colour are closely comparable with the less heavily worked of the many architectural studies the artists produced, such as Rome: Unidentified Ruins on the Palatine Hill (TG0531). Certainly, the patron treated this work in the same way, mounting it with a simple border as with the similarly sized views of the Savoy Hospital (TG0368 and TG0369), which likewise must have been bound in a volume at some stage. More to the point, I am increasingly sure that this work, like a substantial majority of the Monro School collaborations, was copied from a secondary source and was not studied on the spot. An earlier image of Mickleham church (see figure 1), not known to Girtin and Loshak, but which Girtin is likely to have had access to, could have provided the artist with the basis for his drawing with only a few modifications to the landscape setting. However, a more probable alternative also presents itself, for, although the credit line on the aquatint does not mention it, the drawing on which the print was based, by Joseph Charles Barrow (c.1759–1804), was almost certainly made after a lost sketch by Girtin’s first significant patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99). Girtin made more than sixty watercolours after Moore’s sketches, and at least a dozen of the amateur’s fairly crude outline drawings also formed the basis of drawings in Monro’s collection, including the view of Kidwelly that was also engraved for the same publication (see TG0264 figure 1). I suspect that Girtin had access to Moore’s untraced sketch and that this was the source for Mickleham Church. That would certainly account for the uncertain perspective in this version of the composition, which is noticeably better in the print.

1795 - 1796

Mickleham Church


1797 - 1798

Effingham Church


1797 - 1798

Capel Church


1794 - 1797

Rome: Unidentified Ruins on the Palatine Hill


1795 - 1796

An Exterior View of Part of the Ruins of the Savoy Hospital


1795 - 1796

An Interior View of the Ruins of the Savoy Hospital


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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