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Works Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin

Okehampton Castle

1800 - 1805

Primary Image: TG1279: An Unknown Artist, after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Okehampton Castle, 1800–05, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 24.1 × 33.7 cm, 9 ½ × 13 ¼ in. Art Gallery of Hamilton, gift of Mr. and Mrs. H.J.M. Watson, 2016 (2016.2.22).

Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Hamilton, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H.J.M. Watson, 2016 (All Rights Reserved)

Unknown Artist after Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Okehampton Castle
1800 - 1805
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
24.1 × 33.7 cm, 9 ½ × 13 ¼ in
Object Type
Copy after Thomas Girtin; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; The West Country: Devon and Dorset

Okehampton Castle (TG1277)
Okehampton Castle (TG1278)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Victor Rienaecker (1887–1972) (Cundall, 1922); Walter de Zoete (1845–1934); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 5 April 1935, lot 27 as 'A View at Oakhampton'; bought by the Fine Art Society, London, £33 12s; Walter C. Hetherington (d.1978); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 14 February 1978, lot 60 as 'After Thomas Girtin', £100; Mr and Mrs H. J. M. Watson; presented to the Gallery, 2016


Cundall, 1922, p.121; Cundall, 1929, p.125; Gallery Website as by Thomas Girtin (Accessed 16/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of Okehampton Castle, unlike the on-the-spot colour sketch (TG1277) and the signed version of the same composition (TG1278), which appears to date from around 1799–1800, was not included in the catalogue of Girtin’s works published by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak in 1954, and it appears to be a contemporary copy of the latter (Girtin and Loshak, 1954). The status of the work was confused by the fact that Girtin and Loshak mixed up the provenance of the autograph work and the copy, but a note in the Girtin Archive (40A) records the doubts that the authors had about the attribution, and when it came to be sold at auction in 1978 it was as a ‘contemporary copy’. We can be reasonably sure that the watercolour was copied after Girtin’s original, rather than from a reproduction, because it not only carefully reproduces each detail of the composition on the same scale but also employs a similar low-grade wrapping paper and, in all probability, a comparable palette of fugitive pigments, which have faded and discoloured in a similar way to the pigments in the autograph version. The anonymous copyist clearly not only had access to the original but also must have known something about the artist’s working methods, though this was not enough to make up for their shortcomings as a watercolourist, particularly in the areas of vegetation, which are hard in the outline and crudely coloured. For that reason, I suspect that the copy was made by an amateur artist who either owned the original Girtin watercolour or had ready access to it, though who that might have been we are unlikely to discover.

(?) 1797

Okehampton Castle


1799 - 1800

Okehampton Castle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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