For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner after Unknown Artist

Raglan Castle: The Great Hall

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0782: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after an Unknown Artist, Raglan Castle: The Great Hall, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on paper, 26.4 × 20.3 cm, 10 ⅜ × 8 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after Unknown Artist
  • Raglan Castle: The Great Hall
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
26.4 × 20.3 cm, 10 ⅜ × 8 in

‘Raglan Castle’ on the back; 'Early drawing by J.M.W Turner / Given to J.P. by W. Wells' (on a fragment of an old label)

Object Type
Collaborations; Copy from an Unknown Source; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; South Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2003


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie's, 26 June 1833, lot 101 as 'Ragland and Tunbridge Castles, &c. 5' by 'Turner'; bought by 'Wells', £4 14s 6d; William Wells of Redleaf (1768–1847); given to Dr John Percy (1817–89); ... Christie’s, 5 June 2003, lot 33 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Girtin, £4,182

About this Work

This view from the Pitched Stone Court to the Great Hall at Raglan Castle in South Wales displays many of the signs that mark the unique collaboration between Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) at the home of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833). Here the two artists were employed across three winters, probably between 1794 and 1797 to copy ‘the outlines or unfinished drawings of’ principally John Robert Cozens (1752–97), but other artists too, including Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804). The ‘finished drawings’ they were commissioned to produce were the result of a strict division of labour: ‘Girtin drew in outlines and Turner washed in the effects’. As the young artists reported to the diarist Joseph Farington, ‘They went at 6 and staid till Ten’ with Turner receiving ‘3s. 6d each night. – Girtin did not say what He had’ (Farington, Diary, 12 November 1798).1 The outcome of their joint labours was substantial, amounting to several hundred drawings including a dozen or so Welsh subjects.

Girtin was never to travel to South Wales, and there is no evidence that Turner visited Raglan prior to the fourth of his Welsh tours (in 1798) either, and so this Monro School subject must have been made after the work of another artist. Dayes, as with the other Welsh subjects copied at Monro’s house, is the likeliest candidate for the source, as he sketched at Raglan sometime around 1790. As with the numerous copies that Girtin and Turner created from compositions by Cozens, it was the slight sketches and outlines that Dayes made on his travels that were used as the source for their more finished watercolours. Monro’s posthumous sale, in 1833, contained several hundred of Dayes’ sketches, including a dozen or so Welsh views described as ‘blue and Indian ink sketches’, the medium favoured by the artist for his on-the-spot studies (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 2 July 1833, lot 47). Typically, the precise Dayes source of this view of the oriel window of the Great Hall at Raglan Castle has not been traced, though this does not mean we should look elsewhere for its model. Few of Dayes’ sketches have survived and, arguably, the fact that no source can be found suggests that it was a thoroughly unprepossessing drawing that required considerable transformational skills from the young artists.

The majority of the copies sold at Monro’s posthumous sale were attributed to Turner alone, possibly including this work, which may have been the ‘Ragland’ included on the first day (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 26 June 1833, lot 101). This generally remained the case until the publication of Andrew Wilton’s pioneering article in 1984, since when the joint attribution of the Monro School works to Turner and Girtin has increasingly become the norm (Wilton, 1984a, pp.8–23). Identifying the division of labour within Monro School drawings is considerably helped, as here, when the colour washes leave some of the pencil work untouched in order to create highlights, and Girtin’s distinctive hand is clearly identifiable across the drawing. In fact, it is Turner’s contribution that must come under scrutiny, as the application of very fluid washes of grey and blue is more typical of Girtin’s style around 1796–97. The way in which a second darker tone of grey is added rapidly over a lighter ground to create a series of abstract shapes on the walls is certainly characteristic of Girtin. Other stylistic traits that can be associated with the artist include the manner in which the windows are defined by leaving the paper untouched, and the same process is applied to the individual stones in the foreground, which resemble the effect seen in contemporary watercolours such as The Gatehouse, Battle Abbey (TG0268).

(?) 1795

The Gatehouse, Battle Abbey


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The full diary entry, giving crucial details of the artists’ work at Monro’s house, is transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1798 – Item 2).

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.