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Works Thomas Girtin

Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter

(?) 1799

Primary Image: TG1452: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Pinckney's Farm, Radwinter, (?) 1799, watercolour on laid paper, 31.1 × 46.3 cm, 12 ¼ × 18 ¼ in. Nottingham Castle Museum (NCM 1929-22).

Photo courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries (All Rights Reserved)

Description
Creator(s)
Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
Title
  • Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter
Date
(?) 1799
Medium and Support
Watercolour on laid paper
Dimensions
31.1 × 46.3 cm, 12 ¼ × 18 ¼ in
Inscription

‘Girtin’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Essex View; Picturesque Vernacular

Collection
Catalogue Number
TG1452
Description Source(s)
Colour Photograph

Provenance

Phineas Borrett (1756-1843); possibly by descent to Mary Ann Girtin (née Borrett) (1781–1843) and Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to George Wyndham Girtin (1836–1912) (lent to London, 1875); by a settlement to his sister, Mary Hog Barnard (1829–99); her sale, Christie’s, 31 May 1886, lot 49; bought by 'Agnew', £23 12s; Thos. Agnew & Sons; H. Wiseman; Edith Elizabeth Lamplugh; bequeathed to the Museum, 1929

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.6 as 'Pinkney's Farm, Wimbish, Essex'

Bibliography

Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.210 as 'Untraced ... Pinckney's Farm'

About this Work

This watercolour, one of two views of a substantial picturesque roadside farm (the other being TG1413), was painted for Girtin’s father-in-law, Phineas Borrett (1756–1843). He was a prosperous London goldsmith who invested in property in Essex, buying Pinckney’s Farm in Radwinter as well as the nearby Turver’s Farm in Wimbish (TG1414), and he appears to have commissioned views of both from Girtin around 1799. This presumably required a visit from the artist to Essex to record the subjects, and, though no sketches have survived, there is a series of other views from around this date, including A Mill in Essex (TG1416), which suggests that what appear to be generic picturesque scenes are based on actual sites; indeed, this building can still be recognised today. From a time when Girtin was producing both country-house views for wealthy patrons and images of picturesque vernacular buildings for the open market, these watercolours are a unique hybrid that held close personal associations for the Girtin family, who continued to own the properties well into the nineteenth century. The artist’s son, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), sold Turver’s farm in 1859, presumably having inherited it from either his mother, Mary Ann Girtin (1781–1843), or his grandfather (Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, 10 September 1859). This must have been how he also came to own two other views of Borrett’s Essex properties (TG1413 and TG1414), and they were not, as Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak thought, inherited from his father’s studio (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.179). Indeed, the personal family associations of these works may have gone even further, since the commission from Borrett was presumably the occasion of the artist’s first meeting with his future wife, Mary Ann. Girtin, it must be remembered, married the daughter of a wealthy London-based patron, and it is not surprising that of all of the artist’s works that featured in the family’s extensive collection, these Essex views appear to have remained in their possession for the longest period.

Girtin’s other view of Pinckney’s Farm, seen from the road, is so badly faded as to give little impression of its original appearance, whilst this work has at least retained some of its original force. Alone of the views of Borrett’s Essex properties, there is also some indication of its broader landscape setting, with the flat open countryside near Saffron Walden shown beyond the building. This and the presence of cattle in the foreground suggest that we are looking at a working farm, and not just a vernacular building chosen purely for its picturesque qualities.

(?) 1799

Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter

TG1413

(?) 1799

Turver’s Farm, Wimbish

TG1414

(?) 1799

A Mill in Essex

TG1416

(?) 1799

Pinckney’s Farm, Radwinter

TG1413

(?) 1799

Turver’s Farm, Wimbish

TG1414

by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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