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Works Thomas Girtin

Newark Castle: The Gatehouse Seen from the North

(?) 1794

Primary Image: TG0102: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Newark Castle: The Gatehouse Seen from the North, (?) 1794, graphite on wove paper, 17.6 × 22.9 cm, 6 ⅞ × 9 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.601).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Newark Castle: The Gatehouse Seen from the North
(?) 1794
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
17.6 × 22.9 cm, 6 ⅞ × 9 in

'Girtin' on the back, by (?) James Moore

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; The Midlands

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


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); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); ... William Lamson Warren, Hertford, Connecticut; bought by Paul Mellon (1907–99), c.1950; presented to the Center, 1975


YCBA Online as 'Mettingham Castle, Suffolk' (accessed 02/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of the twelfth-century gatehouse of Newark Castle, seen from the north, was discovered in 2001 in one of two volumes of drawings by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) that are now in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. The pencil outlines are for the main part by Moore himself, made on the numerous tours he undertook to gather material for his antiquarian publications, but they also include five sheets by Girtin as well as over forty of the sketches by Moore from which Girtin made finished watercolours for his patron. This sketch was for a long time attributed to Moore himself, but it is inscribed ‘Girtin’ on the back, and the quality of the draughtsmanship is of a completely different standard from the bulk of the material in the volumes (see source image TG0148), and there is no doubt that it is by Girtin.

The subject of Girtin’s drawing was also unknown until the preparation of this online catalogue, when two incorrectly titled watercolours showing the same gatehouse from a slightly different angle (TG0320 and TG0915) were identified from their resemblance to a view of Newark Castle by Thomas Hearne (1744–1817) that Girtin copied around 1795–96 (TG0865). Until the discovery of the drawing’s subject, I had assumed that, like so many of Girtin’s early sketches of castle ruins, it was copied from a sketch by Moore, and was therefore made with a watercolour version of the amateur’s composition in mind. However, Newark is close to Southwell in Nottinghamshire, which appears to have been one of the stops on the 1794 tour of the Midlands that Girtin undertook in the company of his patron, and it is by no means inconceivable that the artist was able to study the castle at first hand after all. If that is the case, then it would make the sketch a year or so later than the outlines of Kenilworth Castle that were also found in the album of drawings by Moore (TG0128 and TG0153), and they do indeed seem rather less sophisticated in style. The evidence may not be conclusive, but the discovery of two different views of Newark points to a hitherto unsuspected stop on Girtin’s first significant trip outside London.

1792 - 1793

Dunstaffnage Castle


1794 - 1795

The Gatehouse, Newark Castle


1797 - 1798

The Gatehouse, Newark Castle


(?) 1795

Ripon Minster, from the River Skell


1792 - 1793

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle


1792 - 1793

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle, with Leicester’s Gatehouse in the Distance


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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