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Works Thomas Girtin

Southampton Harbour

1798 - 1799


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Southampton Harbour
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
19.1 × 29.9 cm, 7 ½ × 11 ¾ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping; Hampshire View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to George Wyndham Hog Girtin (1835–1911) (lent to London, 1875); by a settlement to his sister, Mary Hog Barnard (née Girtin) (1828–99); her sale, Christie’s, 31 May 1886, lot 58; bought by 'Isaac', £5 15s 6d

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.74 as 'View of Southampton', shown with an untraced view of 'Scarborough', 8 ¼ × 12 ½ in (21 × 31.8 cm)


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.210

About this Work

This work formed part of the collection of the Girtin family for almost a century, and it appeared in the first important exhibition of the artist’s works in 1875 (Exhibitions: London, 1875, no.74a). It was lost sight of soon after, and was listed by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak amongst the untraced drawings in their catalogue of Girtin’s watercolours; no image of it is now known (Girtin and Loshak, 1954). Another watercolour, Southampton Harbour (see figure 1), is the work of Girtin’s early patron John Henderson (1764–1843). However, though he is known to have copied a number of his protégé’s compositions (see TG0919 figure 1), there is no evidence to back up the assumption that Henderson’s Southampton Harbour records the appearance of the lost Girtin view. Indeed, given that the scene includes to the left the folly castle erected by the Marquess of Lansdowne (1736–1805) in 1805 (demolished in 1818) the watercolour must postdate Girtin’s death.1 The untraced work, if it were to be found, and if it is indeed by Girtin, would join a growing list of views of Southampton and its surrounds that increasingly suggest that the town was a significant stop on the artist’s West Country tour of 1797 (such as TG1234).

Southampton Harbour

Figure 1.
John Henderson (1764–1843), Southampton Harbour, graphite and watercolour on paper, 18.8 × 43 cm, 7 ⅜ × 16 ⅞ in. British Museum, London (1948,1009.15).

Digital image courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

1797 - 1798

A Distant View of Southampton


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 Identified by Kingsley Miller in September 2016 and noted in the catalogue entry for the work in British Museum, Collection.

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