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Works Thomas Girtin

Rustic Figures in a Landscape, with Pigs

1793 - 1794

Primary Image: TG0174a: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Rustic Figures in a Landscape, with Pigs, 1793–94, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 19.2 × 13.9 cm, 7 ½ × 5 ½ in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2020.107).

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry G. Sperling Fund, 2020 (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Rustic Figures in a Landscape, with Pigs
1793 - 1794
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
19.2 × 13.9 cm, 7 ½ × 5 ½ in

'Windsor / Gi [rtin]' lower right, by Thomas Girtin (paper torn)

Object Type
Outline Drawing; Unfinished Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Animal Study; Rural Labour

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2018 and 2019


Arthur K. Hay; then by descent to Joseph B. Hay; his posthumous sale, Bateman’s, Stamford, 7 October 2017, lot 614 (concealed under TG0174), £8,000; Andrew Clayton-Payne; Sotheby's, 3 July 2019, lot 403, £1,250; Guy Peppiatt Fine Art, London, £2,800; bought by the Museum, 2020

Exhibition History

Guy Peppiatt, London, 2019, no.33

About this Work

This pencil drawing of a group of rustic figures with farm animals was discovered in 2017 attached to the back of a watercolour possibly showing a view in Windsor Park (TG0174). The sheet was joined to two other smaller pieces of paper to form a makeshift mount for the watercolour, and this was almost certainly done by Girtin himself. The pencil drawing, enhanced by a few washes of colour, was therefore clearly surplus to Girtin’s requirements, though its original function is not entirely clear. One possibility is that the image was copied from another artist and that it was produced as a record of working figures and farm animals for use in finished watercolours, much as in the case of the later Sheet of Figure Studies (TG1899). Girtin copied works such as Dogs Hesitating about the Pluck (TG0874), by the genre and animal painter George Morland (1763–1804), and it may be that this artist provided the source for Girtin’s farmyard group. A thorough search of Morland’s work has turned up numerous similar groups of animals and figures, but as yet no specific source has been found. Another possibility is that the sheet was cut down from a larger composition that had, for whatever reason, been abandoned at an early stage in its production. The figures (who appear to have unloaded their donkey), together with the prominent group of pigs in the foreground, bear a resemblance to the staffage depicted in A Thatched Barn with Farm Animals (TG0913), and one can readily imagine a larger version of this sheet being developed into a similar composition.

The drawing is inscribed at the bottom ‘Windsor’, and below that there is a signature that has been partially lost. It is possible that the scene depicted here, like the watercolour for which it formed a backing, shows a view in the park at Windsor. However, Girtin is not known to have visited the location by the likely date of the production of either work, around 1794, and the inscription probably refers to the finished watercolour. Girtin’s later farmhouse views, such as Turver’s Farm, Radwinter (TG1415), were drawn from life. However, earlier works, including A Thatched Barn with Farm Animals, either appear to have been copied from other artists or were generic compositions, and it is unlikely that this image represents a specific location.

1794 - 1795

A View in Windsor Great Park with Deer


1801 - 1802

A Sheet of Figure Studies


1796 - 1797

Dogs Hesitating about the Pluck


1794 - 1795

A Thatched Barn with Farm Animals


1799 - 1800

Turver’s Farm, Wimbish


by Greg Smith

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