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Works Thomas Girtin

Ripon Minster, from the South East

1799 - 1800

Primary Image: TG1513: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Ripon Minster, from the South East, 1799–1800, graphite on wove paper, 11.7 × 16.5 cm, 4 ⅝ × 6 ½ in. Private Collection, Cumbria.

Photo courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive, PA-F03340-0091 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Ripon Minster, from the South East
1799 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
11.7 × 16.5 cm, 4 ⅝ × 6 ½ in

‘Rippon Minster’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin

Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Cathedral View; Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2024


John Postle Heseltine (1843–1929); his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 29 May 1935, lot 313; volume bought by Bernard Squire, £32; bought by Walter C. Hetherington (d.1978); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 14 February 1978, lot 58; bought by Spink & Son Ltd, London, £420

Exhibition History

Spink’s, London, 1978, no.9


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.187, the 'pencil drawing ... has been lost sight of'

About this Work

The precise date of this sketch of Ripon Minster, seen from the south east, has proved elusive. Girtin may have visited the city in 1796 on his trip to the north east and the Scottish Borders, and two views of the minster, also from the south east though from further away and with the river Skell in the foreground, might have originated in sketches made at that time (TG1053 and TG1054). It is possible that this drawing was also made then, but the only dated watercolours showing the town are from 1800 (TG1659 and TG1660) and 1801 (TG1665). A later date is, on balance, more likely for this sketch, not least because Ripon is on the route that the artist took to Middleham and Hawes during his 1799 Yorkshire visit. Moreover, although the measurements do not tally precisely, there is some evidence to link the drawing with a significant group of sketches produced on that trip, all of which may have been extracted from a sketchbook. Two of the drawings on a smooth wove paper have matching holes, which suggests that they had been bound into a book (TG1508a and TG1525). The latter sketch (Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea) is missing a small section, which, as a later copy indicates (TG1601), must have strayed onto the opposite page. It seems that on just this one occasion Girtin did execute his sketches in a book, though, as the paper historian Peter Bower has argued, it is unlikely that this was made commercially. It may be that the artist himself assembled sheets of paper into a convenient gathering and that, as in the case of the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1323, TG1324 and TG1600TG1625), this contained a number of different types of paper, including the low-grade cartridge used here (Bower, 2002, p.141). This sketch does not seem to have been used as the basis for a finished watercolour, but others were, and Girtin may have employed the book to show his compositions to potential clients. Prime amongst these was Edward Lascelles (1764–1814), who in all probability hosted Girtin at Harewood House during his 1799 trip and who is said to have had a room put aside for him to work in (Roget, 1891, vol.1, p.96). 

Another sketch of Ripon was once in the Whitworth Book of Drawings, from which it was removed for sale. Page thirty-nine is inscribed ‘sketch Rippon Minster cold on the Spot Sold to ........ 8.8.0’ and page forty is missing. Most of the drawings left in the book probably date from 1800, but some are from earlier or were copied from older drawings, and so the presence of a Ripon subject does not necessarily preclude a 1799 date for the artist’s trip to the town.

1796 - 1797

A Distant View of Ripon Minster, from the River Skell


1797 - 1798

A Distant View of Ripon Minster, from the River Skell



Ripon Minster, with Skellgate Bridge



Ripon Minster, with Skellgate Bridge


1800 - 1810

A Distant View of Ripon Minster, from the River Skell


1799 - 1800

Cottages at Hawes, from Gayle Beck


1799 - 1800

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


(?) 1801

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


1800 - 1801

Mountain Scenery, Said to Be near Beddgelert


1800 - 1801

The Valley of the Glaslyn, near Beddgelert


1798 - 1799

John Raphael Smith: ‘Waiting for the Mail Coach’


(?) 1800

The Ruins of Old Mulgrave Castle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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