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Works James Moore and Thomas Girtin

St Clement's Church, with Hastings in the Distance

(?) 1795

Primary Image: TG0304: James Moore (1762–99) and Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), St Clement's Church, with Hastings in the Distance, (?) 1795, graphite on wove paper, 22.4 × 17 cm, 8 ⅞ × 6 ¾ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1916.20.20).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

James Moore (1762-1799) and Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • St Clement's Church, with Hastings in the Distance
(?) 1795
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
22.4 × 17 cm, 8 ⅞ × 6 ¾ in

'St.Hastings Ch. Hastings' lower left, by James Moore; 'Augt. 18th' lower right, by James Moore

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Parish Church; Sussex View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2016


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought and presented anonymously to the Museum, 1916


Brown, 1982, p.471, no.1408 as 'St.Hastings Ch. Hastings Augt. 18th'

About this Work

This pencil drawing by Girtin’s first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99), was probably made on the third and final tour he undertook to record the medieval castles and churches of Sussex. It is contained in an album assembled from fifty-three drawings that were acquired by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, from Moore’s descendants after 1912. They were catalogued by David Brown as being by Moore himself, but Brown added a note to another sketch of St Clement’s Church (TG0308) suggesting that Girtin may also have ‘taken a hand’ in the drawing (Brown, 1982, p.471). I think it is possible to go a step further and propose that, given perhaps half of the drawings in the album are significantly stronger than Moore’s generally unconvincing sketches (see source image TG0114), the professional artist had a ‘hand’ in many more of his patron’s outlines. In this case, such is the contrast in quality, particularly in the architectural details, that it is clear that the drawing has been corrected and enhanced by a superior artist working over Moore’s sketch with a sharper and more richly toned piece of graphite. The drawing is typical of the way in which Moore’s tentative outlines have been firmed up, his faulty perspective corrected and an exuberant level of decorative detail added. The manner in which the artist varies the pressure applied to the graphite to introduce subtle variations in tone, even within the same line, is characteristic of Girtin’s fine draughtsmanship, and it was surely he who elaborated Moore’s view of the west tower of St Clement’s from the south east and placed it within a credible setting, with the village of Hastings in the distance, in a way that was well beyond the amateur’s capabilities. The drawing is simply inscribed ‘Augt. 18th’, but it was presumably made in 1795, along with five other views of Hastings, including the closer depiction of the same church (TG0308). Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak believed that Girtin actually accompanied Moore on his 1795 trip to Sussex and the ‘Cinque Ports region’ (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.28), but that now seems very unlikely, and all of his views of the county were either made after his patron’s sketches or, as here, elaborated from drawings on the amateur’s return to London.

(?) 1795

The West Tower, St Clement’s Church, Hastings; Studies of a Horse in Harness and Numerous Architectural Details


1792 - 1793

The Albion Mills, Southwark, after the Fire


(?) 1795

The West Tower, St Clement’s Church, Hastings; Studies of a Horse in Harness and Numerous Architectural Details


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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